A tête-à-tête with Yovel Badash on Professional Development for Educators
In this highly competitive world, to not move forward is akin to moving backwards. This holds true for every sphere of life, be it professional, personal or anything else. Once you stop moving forward, your value as a useful individual decreases.
What does moving forward entail? It means adapting to new technologies, developing new skills and utilizing them to further your development. One of the best ways to do this is by attending Professional Development classes.
When done correctly,Professional Development classes help you grow professionally. The idea is to identify areas of improvement and give you the adequate tools and solutions to address your shortcomings. Professional Development classes also acquaint you with the ever-changing/advancing technology that your profession utilizes and benefits from.
Sadly, most of the Professional Development classes are yet to evolve to the level where they can address each individual’s needs separately. Like most professionals. educators too feel the pinch of inadequate Professional Development classes for them.
Yovel Badash has been professing for a more comprehensive and evolved approach to Professional Development classes for tutors. Mr. Badash is the CEO of No Child Held Back (NCHB) and NaMaYa. NCHB, founded by NaMaYa, is a nationwide effort to help schools reach their full potential, so that all children can reach their full potential. NaMaYa is a leading online education provider which provides courses for K-12 students and Professional Development course for educators.
We had the opportunity to converse with Mr. Badash on the topic of Professional Development for Educators. Here are the excerpts from our conversation:
You are the CEO of No Child Held Back (NCHB) and NaMaYa – both are doing a commendable job in providing quality education to students of K-12. How has the journey been so far?
The Education technology and reform markets are kind of a rollercoaster. In the past 8 years, I have seen a lot of ups and downs and it has been an incredibly interesting journey.
One of the key challenges is that it is a very volatile environment – teachers change, leadership changes, new technology and tools, new curriculum or evaluation systems. There are a lot of changes happening at the same time – but yet the system is fundamentally staying the same.
There is a considerable untapped potential for improvement but all stakeholders need to unify under one vision. And drive towards the same goals. We need to get parents, students and teachers work together – while getting support from the school or district.
More and more people are realizing that things cannot continue the way they have – so I expect to see great changes coming in the next couple of years.
What are your views on professional development for educators? How does it help educators and students?
Professional Development for teachers must take a big leap forward. We cannot afford to spend majority of the time on information sharing and general updates. Teachers need more ongoing support on a weekly basis than one-time-suits-all training.
Just like not two students are alike, no two teachers are the same. Each teacher needs to have a personalized growth plan that includes self-learning, mentoring, peer-group work and job-embedded support. Districts and schools need to find new ways to do quality Professional Development and have longer term plans on how they can do more with less.
We see a lot of new ways teachers connect these days on social media and teacher portals – I think this trend will grow and strengthen. If our goal is to have more effective teachers, we have to invest a lot more in their Professional Development.
What are the pain points or difficulties associated with delivering quality professional development classes for educators? What role can online classes play in this?
I would like to mention a few pain points. Firstly, it is the one-size-fits-all approach with face-to-face workshop delivery. This approach does not focus on the individual teacher and therefore has limited effectiveness in impacting their practice.
nother area is balancing the need to train teachers around a wide range of topics and at the same time allow them to go deep into several of them. This is a very hard thing to do with traditional professional development methods that are being used these days.
Online and blended programs seem to address a lot of these challenges. Districts can obtain high-quality ready-to-use Professional Development materials – and use them in the way that best serves their teachers.
They can use blended models so the teachers do some of the work on their own – and use the in-person time a lot more effectively.
Generally, conducting professional development classes is a one-day affair that vaguely addresses the issues at hand. Your thoughts on what a professional development class should focus on.
I think professional development should be personalized,focused on every teacher. If you have a young teacher that feels more comfortable with technology but need more work around classroom management or differentiated instruction, they should be able to focus on these areas.
If an experienced teacher needs time to get comfortable with new tools or curriculum, they should be able to focus on that.
Teachers should work together in Professional Learning Community type environments where they continuously grow and learn. Professional Development should focus on the teacher while enabling the school/district to move along their strategic plan. Organizations that try to achieve this goal will benefit greatly and fairly quickly.
You are going to conduct a webinar on ‘Professional Development for Educators’. What would be the focus of the webinar? What all points do you plan to cover during the webinar?
The main focus of the webinar is going to be on how can a school/district develop a sustainable Professional Development plan for the future,the challenges they face today and how innovative technology-based approach can address these issues.
We will focus on personalized Professional Development approaches and how schools can personalize their Professional Development delivery in a cost-effective way.