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Building Your Professional Development Community

cover-smallThe best professional development often relies on the teacher-to-teacher method – teachers sharing their successes and challenges with one another to build a network of support. The following resources from NCTE suggest ways that you can build a supporting community among your colleagues to help ensure a successful (and less stressful) school year.

When Teachers Have Time to Talk: The Value of Curricular Conversations” from Language Arts chronicles the evolution of a collaborative teacher study group program and provides an analysis of the curricular conversations that took place.

The Voices from the Middle article “Creating a Circle of Learning: Teachers Taking Ownership through Professional Communities” shares the idea that professional learning communities continue to push members to grow as learners and educators, ultimately impacting student learning. These communities can provide a model for teachers to use in their own classrooms, providing tools to unlock student potential, as well as teacher potential.

Mentoring Matters: Mentoring New Teachers: What Teacher Education Programs Can Do to Help” from the English Journal focuses on effective ways to support new English teachers and student teachers.

Online teacher support groups can also be a great resource. “Building Bridges: Creating an Online Conversation Community for Preservice Teachers” from English Education explores the role of an online forum in helping student teachers find peer and faculty mentors. Through the listserv, student teachers tell their own stories to make meanings of their experience and to define themselves as education professionals. Online resources can help teachers at all levels. To check out the online communities offered by NCTE, visit the NCTE Online Community page.

At the college level, mentoring can make all the difference for new teachers. “Diving for Pearls: Mentoring as Cultural and Activist Practice among Academics of Color” from College Composition and Communication explores how senior scholars of color and their protégés gain some understanding of the complexities and costs of building a multiethnic/multiracial professoriate in our discipline.

Later this week, NCTE will host its Annual Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. If you will be joining us, we hope you can connect with educators, administrators, and researchers from across the country and around the world to share and learn from mutual interests, concerns, and experiences. If you can’t attend in person, follow #NCTE16 on social media.