AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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The AFT Professional Development Program for Educators

The AFT has long recognized that the union's responsibilities go beyond the traditional "bread and butter" issues of salary and benefits. The AFT Professional Development Program represents one of the union's major efforts to improve student achievement by making a difference in practitioners' performance and professional growth.
In 1981, the AFT received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a series of courses to encourage all practitioners to improve their practice and their students' performance by becoming users of research. Today, the AFT Professional Development Program offers 45-hour graduate-level courses, 3-hour modules, webinars, technology tools and more to appeal to all educators.
By addressing the professional needs of our educator mem­bers, we are able to help them be even more successful in their careers; the union; the institutions in which they work; and in serving the students, families and communities they serve.

The AFT Professional Development Program:

  • provides solid, research-based content;
  • is created and delivered by classroom teachers and school personnel;
  • is an ongoing process, rather than an in-service event;
  • offers a nonthreatening, nonjudgmental learning environment;
  • incorporates opportunities for self-reflection, application and implementation of instructional strategies, resulting in real change in practice;
  • validates existing practice while encouraging profes­sional growth; and
  • builds a sense of pride in the quality of a union service.

In developing these offerings, the AFT collaborates with lead­ing education researchers to synthesize reliable findings on best practice and translate them into a user-friendly format that connects the research to its applications in the real world of classrooms and schools. The classes model strategies that, according to research, provide the most effective adult learn­ing experiences.

When are courses scheduled?

The AFT provides professional development opportunities at several events throughout the year. In addition, the national union works with state federations and local affiliates to de­liver coursework locally and assist in developing the capacity to provide the offerings directly to affiliate members. If you would like more information on these events, or would like to inquire about scheduling your own event, e-mail edissues@aft.org or call 800-238-1133, ext. 8636