At this time in December we start to think about all we’ve accomplished in the past year—and all we want to accomplish in the next. Many of you may be going through the same process.
Below, we’ve listed a few New Year’s resolutions for educators’ professional development. Review the list—perhaps you’ll get inspired! Or, maybe we’ve included a resource that you’d like to share with your colleagues.
What are your New Year’s resolutions for your professional development and growth? Share them in the comments.
1. Try a new activity or teaching strategy
Whether you’re interested in implementing a few new activities or projects, or you want to take a larger step (like flipping your classroom), this may be the year you decide to make some changes to the way you teach a particular topic—or your entire course.
Before you do take on a new teaching strategy, learn as much as you can about it—that way, you’ll make an informed decision and have a chance to think carefully about the best ways to bring these ideas into your classroom.
You could also turn to your colleagues for advice. If you admire their style or the results they’ve seen from their implementation of these ideas, see if it’s possible for you to observe their courses in action.
2. Improve student engagement
Just about any instructor would be pleased to see a room full of energized and engaged students. If you’re hoping to raise the level of engagement in your courses, you may be seeking some ideas or strategies that will help you improve student engagement.
Take some time to understand or review what engages students, and reflect on what drives students’ interest in their courses. Consider which of those new ideas or activities could build student engagement in your particular course. Then, implement those ideas, and observe what happens in your classes. If your efforts work, keep building on them! If a particular activity or strategy didn’t work, think about what you might do to take on the challenge from a different angle.
3. Work on professional development
If you’re like many of us, you may have a particular skill or knowledge set that you’ve been wanting to acquire for a long time now. If that’s the case, make some concrete plans to learn those skills in the new year!
Your institution or department may offer professional development opportunities to you. If they do—take hold of them! Commit to attending—register as soon as they’re available.
Looking for additional ideas or inspiration? TeamUP, Cengage Learning’s peer-to-peer faculty-development group, offers a variety of services ready to help you build or develop your skills. To learn more, see TeamUP’s list of live and on-demand professional-development resources. You’ll find live events, webinars, and a portal that offers self-paced faculty development modules, a library of recorded TeamUP workshops, and live and recorded virtual sessions.
4. Become a better communicator
As an instructor, you’re constantly communicating with others. As a professional, you’re likely thinking about how you can make those communication efforts even more effective.
Whether you want to sharpen your lecturing style, communicate with greater clarity online, form stronger connections with your students, or become a better networker, there are many ways that you can work to improve your skills. Try some of the tips in the posts linked in this paragraph—or, seek out a professional development seminar or course that will give you a jumpstart in this area.
5. Use a new tech tool
Does your classroom have a new smart board? Are you eager to try out some new apps for education in your course? Eyeing a new piece of equipment that can enhance the way your students complete their research, labs, or experiments? Why not try it out this year!
If you decide to use a new tech tool in an upcoming term, do take some time to try the new tool out before class starts. That way, you’ll feel more confident when it comes time to use them during a class session.