Professional Associations: The Key to Staying Up-to-date in the Education World

I have an internship at Avery middle school this semester with a social studies teacher; this past Friday was my first day there. One thing I noticed in the classroom was that every student was issued their own Mac Book to complete homework and assignments on. The students took their Mac Books home and to school. This was incredibly different from my own experience in public school. In middle school, we only had exposure to technology in a technology class. It only met a few times a week. In high school, we had a computer lab and laptops teachers could check out, but they were very rarely used.

Throughout my college career, I’ve have taken coursed that train for different classroom techniques and learning methods, but the above example just goes to show how quickly schools are changing. One day the things I’m learning now about teaching may become obsolete.

So how does one keep up in an ever changing world?

By reading an article by Kelly A. Cherwin titled, “Why Join a Professional Association?”, it has become clear to me that professional associations offer many resources to keep you up to date on your job, such as seminars, training, or certification classes. Additionally, many professional associations also offer resources such as case studies, articles and books. You may also meet other professionals and create a network of individuals and friends that you can share ideas and experiences with. For a teacher, this would undoubtedly beneficial. Since the world of education is constantly changing, teachers can stay up to date on educational tools and information by taking advantage of the benefits of a professional association.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) offers many of the NCSS-Logobenefits described above. One resource they offer is their journal Social Education which includes “techniques for using teaching materials in the classroom, information on the latest instructional technology, reviews of educational media, research on significant topics related to social studies, and lesson plans that can be applied to various disciplines.” By staying informed, social studies teachers will be taking a step towards ensuring their students gain the most up-to-date education the teacher can offer. Of course, this depends on what kinds of resources are available to the teacher, but by being a member of NCSS, the teacher would have more access to resources than a teacher who was not a member.

NCSS also holds an annual conference, which has “more than 400 sessions, workshops, and clinics” and brings together “top professionals in social studies education.” I glanced at some of the workshops from a NCCSS* conference last year. There was a numerous amount of workshops provided, and they ranged from topics such as “Understanding Homelessness: Providing an Authentic Context for Fostering Students’ Awareness” to “Listening to History: Using Oral History To Create Engaging Project-Based Learning in the Classroom,” and many more. I am certain that teachers who go to these conferences gain ideas they can apply in their own classrooms.

 

*NCCSS is an affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies, based in North Carolina.

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3 thoughts on “Professional Associations: The Key to Staying Up-to-date in the Education World

  1. First of all, I cant believe that middle schoolers had their own Macs, that definitely makes me realize that we live an age in which technology is pervasive into every aspect of life, including education. I agree with the point you made about getting involved with professional organizations, however until I read your post I didn’t realize the full extent of how much education has changed and continues to change as society and the ways we give and receive information change. Just looking at the workshops it is evident that teachers are constantly trying to educate themselves in the ways they teach students. It is very fortunate that now we have a network and therefore we should really take advantage of it.

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  2. I can only imagine how excited I would have been in middle school to work with my own Mac in class. Granted, I probably would have gotten side tracked. However, so much technology in the classroom definitely opens it up for numerous pros but also some cons. This is just another example of why resources, seminars, and workshops provided by NCCSS for their members can be so beneficial. The realm of teaching should change as technology advances, and being involved with a professional association is one way to evolve our teaching. Your personal experience with middle school students was a great reference.

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  3. This is an awesome post, Claire!
    I loved reading it, it was so informative. I love how relevant it is to NCCSS. As a future educator of North Carolina this is the kind of post I want to read to further my professional persona.
    -Jonathan

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