By: Mary Ware for LearnWell
For many hospital teachers, summer brings an opportunity to spend some time in reflection and change up the classroom routine a bit. Depending on the program, hospital teachers may work year round to support the students who qualify to receive year-round educational services through IEPs, or as an offering from the hospital or residential treatment facility in order to sustain a quality program throughout the year.
The change from school year to summer may lead to opportunities to create even more innovative lessons or revamp curriculum, but it is also a great time for teachers to spend extra time during their work day engaging in professional development activities.
There are many ways to encourage professional development of teachers during this time period. One way is by having them take part in team meetings or planned trainings for other hospital staff. Another would be to explore local PD offerings and provide time and resources to attend conferences and special events. For facilities with limited resources, free online trainings are a great way to quickly introduce a multitude of topics to staff, and luckily there are many great options out there for teachers as well!
Here are a few FREE professional development opportunities that are easily accessed online—some may even come with PD credit needed for continued licensure!
Growth Mindset has been a trending topic the past few years, and it is especially helpful for student-patients. This free training provides ideas for routines, lessons and assessments, and provides a certificate for 1.5 PD hours after completion.
STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) seeks to provide students with a more well-rounded learning experience that provides opportunities for critical thinking skills and job-readiness. This PD seminar gives advice for incorporating into K-12 classrooms and provides a workbook and strategy packet for download.
With the integration of the Arts into traditional STEM education, this seminar provides guidance on how to make the most of using creativity to supplement and support traditional curriculum, rather than take time away from it.
One of the many challenges for teachers, especially new teachers, is learning how to create a space that supports the learning of students at all levels. This course provides strategies for adapting curriculum for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, as well as gifted and talented students.
In this course, teachers are walked through the steps to create a tiered assignment with authentic assessment that follows the competency-based instruction model. Practical hands-on opportunity to learn how to evaluate needs, create a rubric and student self-assessment tool and other activities are also included.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a common tool used to meet the needs of diverse learners. In this course educators are able to reflect on a current lesson of their own and see how it can be improved or reworked to follow key UDL strategies.
Many of the above courses also have options for graduate credit for teachers interested in pursuing that route. There are also many other options available online!
By providing time and encouragement to engage in professional development activities, hospital program administrators can help improve the quality of both their teachers and their education programs—which is a winning situation for all involved!