Attending state or national conferences is one option for CTE professional development. With purposeful planning in advance of a conference, attending sessions focused on an objective, and sharing reflections with colleagues, conferences can be a meaningful learning experience.
When attending a conference is not possible, local professional development can provide excellent learning for instructors. The first step is to identify the instructors’ needs in terms of content or pedagogy. Once the needs of have been identified, developing a learning opportunity is the next step. Here are some examples that may fit your needs or give you ideas to generate your own:
1. Externships: Teachers work in a local business related to their content area for one to two weeks, then develop learning units and/or assessments for use in the classroom.
Perkins areas targeted: academic and technical integration; current industry needs, expectations and methods; higher level teacher knowledge of industry.
a. Summer Teacher Industry Externships: The following agencies facilitate two-week teacher externships throughout the state in the summer: Alaska Process Industries Career Consortium (APICC) and Alaska Health Education Centers (AHECs). UAA Office of Health Programs facilitates teacher externships in the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas in behavioral health. Watch for application information in early February.
b. For CTE instructors in districts with Perkins grant funds, you can set up your own externship with a local industry and Perkins grant can be used to fund it. The attached brochure provides information about the goals and expectations of an externship. Contact the CTE Department (907-786-6945) for more registration requirements for enrolling in the 3-credit CTE 590 Teacher Externship course.
2. Study groups: A study group provides an opportunity to work with CTE colleagues in your district, or from around the state through distance delivery, to study a topic or book and implement it in the classroom. Examples:
a. Academic integration – “Teaching for Understanding through Integration of Academic and Technical Education,” by Gene Bottoms and Deede Sharpe (Southern Regional Education Board)
b. Assessment – “Test Better, Teach Better: The Instructional Role of Assessment,” by W. James Popham (Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2003)
c. Industry Certification – Setting up a study group to work through and practice in preparation for a certification exam, for example, the dental hygiene WREB exam.
d. Effective teaching – “Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement,” by Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock (ASCD, 2001)
e. Standards – “Unwrapping the Standards: A Simple Process to make Standards Manageable,” by Larry Ainsworth (Lead + Learn Press, 2003)
Perkins areas targeted: academic and technical integration; effective teaching skills and use of scientifically based research to improve instruction; increased understanding of standards.
3. Mentoring: In some situations, an experienced CTE instructor may serve as a mentor by providing technical assistance to a new teacher, or by providing training to a teacher seeking to add an endorsement.
Perkins area targeted: increase percentage of teachers who meet certification or licensure requirements.