Best Practices

3 Ways to Honor the Adult Learner: Our Promise to You

Kim DeMars
April 20, 2022

More than 40 years ago, our company began with the fundamental principle that early childhood educators need and deserve high-quality professional development. The end goal has always been to help teachers help children and families by providing teachers with both theoretical knowledge and the practical guidance for its everyday implementation. Our very name—Teaching Strategies—pays homage to this founding vision.

Over the years, we have expanded on this vision by continually growing our opportunities for educator professional development. Recently, we took another giant step forward in ensuring that teachers have access to the latest, widest, deepest collection of learning experiences possible with the additions of Quality Assist (the Quorum eLearning platform) and our new Professional Development Teacher Membership.

But even as our adult learning opportunities continue to evolve, our commitment to high-quality professional development has not. Here are three ways that we continue to deliver on this essential, founding mission.

 

1. We Honor the Rights of the Adult Learner 

You are a capable and dedicated early childhood educator, and we take our job of helping you continually grow and refine your professional knowledge, skills, and abilities seriously. We work to create a learning environment that challenges you, intrigues you, and respects your rights as a learner.

Just as The Creative Curriculum  recommends that teachers establish a learning environment that consistently sends positive messages, so, too, do adult learners thrive when they receive similar messages. We believe in your right to:

    • Explore the environment. We give you time to actively engage with the content in each session.
    • Formulate and test hypotheses. We want you to come up with and try new ideas.
    • Invent strategies. We challenge you to use your learning to discover new solutions.
    • Seek multiple plausible strategies. We recognize that there is more than one response to many issues, and we invite you to explore them.
    • Pose new questions. Growth comes through wonder and inquiry. We encourage you to dig deeper and consider questions that will further your explorations.
    • Revise your beliefs. We invite you to translate your learning into practices that benefit the children and families with whom you work.

2. We Continually Pursue Quality 

Learning is most meaningful when the learner is actively engaged in the process. Regardless of format—in-person, virtual, or on-demand—our adult learning opportunities, in ways both modern and timeless, leverage the teaching strategies that best support each educator’s development and learning.

    • Inquiry-based reflection: We believe that learning starts with questions. Our sessions are designed to provide you with opportunities to ask, wonder, and explore.
    • Authentic learning: Each session provides the four components of authentic learning: we lay out real-world scenarios for you to consider, we spur deep thinking instead of rote learning, we provide a forum for you to discuss your learning with others, and we give you the tools to direct your learning as you navigate the trainings.
    • Opportunities for application: Learning means very little if it does not support you in doing your work. We provide you with the tools to take what you are learning and apply it in your classroom with children.

3. We Value Collaboration and Community  

The power of the adult learning experience is made all the more robust when we have ongoing opportunities to learn from each other. Here at Teaching Strategies, we get to hear and learn from a diverse group of teachers from around the world, and now you can as well. We are enormously excited about opening these opportunities for educators to connect through our online community. We invite all learners to participate in this community to support your growth and that of your fellow early educators.

Within our learning community, educators can

    • share ideas and strategies on discussion forums;
    • engage in conversations and share ideas by reading and responding to what others have posted;
    • pass on learned concepts to their real-life colleagues;
    • thoughtfully create, complete, and share action plans to continually improve their practice; and
    • feel supported by and offer support to early childhood educators from around the world.

We invite you to join us on this magnificent journey of professional learning and collegial community-building that, while more than 40 years old, feels like it’s just getting started.

The Transformative Power of Ongoing Professional Development

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