A large and ever-growing body of research shows that teacher expertise is what matters most in helping every child develop and learn. Developing your expertise as a professional who works with children and their families is a career-long pursuit and its importance cannot be emphasized enough. You may already have realized that, as in most professions, the more you learn, the more you recognize how much more there is to learn. And the further you move along the ‘novice-to-expert’ development continuum, the more profound your impact will be on the children with whom you work, and the better prepared you will be to collaborate with, support, and learn from families, colleagues, and other professionals. What are the key components to ongoing professional growth? At any point in time, and in any order, the processes of reflection, inquiry, problem solving, and self-assessment are invaluable.The need for continual professional development is not new. Scholars such as Lilian G. Katz, David Berliner, Linda-Darling Hammond, and Sonia Nieto have researched theories and written articles and books about this vital process. In fact, Lilian G. Katz specifies four stages in teacher professional development —survival, consolidation, renewal, and maturity—in your course text. She underscores that the successful progression from stage to stage is not automatic but requires the completion of specific developmental tasks. And, at each of these stages, professionals are called upon to take part in the processes of reflection, inquiry, problem solving, and self-assessment.For this section of your Professional Philosophy of Teaching and Learning, summarize your own professional development needs by reflecting on the following question:What have I learned so far in my coursework about what a teacher or anyone who is in a profession that fosters children’s development and learning needs to know? (Reflection)Then, respond to the following questions:What three essential questions about fostering children’s development and learning do I need to ask at this point in my career? (Inquiry) How will I learn the answers to these questions? (Problem solving) Where am I now in relation to where I want to be in understanding my own professional goals and needs? (Self-assessment)Assignment length: 1–2 pages
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