6 key areas of expertise to help become a successful teacher

August 16, 2023

Reading time: 3–4 minutes

Teachers looking to advance their teaching skills have a variety of options to choose from, ranging from daylong professional development seminars to enrolling in a graduate-level program. Earning an MS, EdD or PhD in Education could be the right move for continuing education for teachers, especially if you want to take your professional goals to the next level

Whatever path you take, pursuing steps that can help you become a successful teacher requires focused attention and expertise in a broad range of pedagogical skills and content development.

Here are the six key areas to focus on if your goal is to find success as a teacher.

1. Curriculum

It’s typical for education degrees to have a strong focus on curriculum. For example, when considering an MS or EdD in Education with a focus on curriculum and instruction, teachers should look for a program that covers both theoretical and practical components of curriculum design.

The program you choose should provide different perspectives on how curriculum functions in the classroom. It should also allow for flexibility, intuition and teacher choice, while featuring the bedrock concepts of cultural sensitivity and inclusion.

2. Instruction

Look for a master’s in education that gives you a thorough review of current instructional technology. This foundational skill can help teachers understand educational technology and the ways they can apply it to accelerate instruction in the classroom. Teachers with this knowledge can decide which tools they need to offer their students the best learning experience.

Having a broad knowledge of the educational technology available could also help teachers determine ways to close educational gaps for individual students in the classroom. They can use the right tools to focus on current best practices in problem-based learning and collaborative classrooms.

3. Assessment

Teachers learning in a master’s program will explore the best ways to assess student learning. Asking questions like “What do the students know?” and “How will I know if they know it?” will help teachers determine opportunities for improvement.

When working with another instructor facing challenges, a successful teacher will have a deep awareness of potential obstacles: the way a teacher approaches instruction, how they apply context or the way they engage a particular student’s learning style may be the root cause of difficulty.

An advanced degree in education can help a teacher grow by giving them a deep dive into formative assessments. This can assist them in showing them when to intervene if a student is struggling and potentially get them back on track before it’s too late.

4. Learning Science

Research on brain development and education is constantly evolving. A successful teacher must keep up with this new data and growing knowledge in order to stay on top of the latest theory and practice associated with education as a science.

The early childhood education specialization of the Capella MS in Education can help students learn skills that can be applied  in the classroom. These include how to build learning programs based on equal and inclusive education, how to work with diverse learning styles to improve learning outcomes, and how to use standards-based assessment practices to evaluate curriculum.

As you work on a master of science in education, you can connect with professional organizations to keep up with current topics and industry trends in your field. Explore organizations’ websites to gain new insights into your field and where your career could lead you. Examples include Childhood Education Internationalthe Division for Early Childhood and the National Child Care Association

5. Research

Hands-on, practical research can be an essential component in a teacher’s toolkit. In some education master’s programs, you can learn the latest techniques for research, design and implementation of modern curricula and teaching methods that can help you enhance your students’ learning experience. 

6. Cultural Competency

A post-graduate degree in education can help you grow your teaching expertise and build your repertoire to improve learning outcomes with diverse learning styles.

As it relates to this area, your coursework offers specific ways to help address the needs of diverse students to help teachers develop answers to important questions. These include “How do I recognize different cultures in my curriculum?” and “How do I ensure that diverse voices are incorporated into our reading materials and discussions?”

Explore degrees in education available from Capella.

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