The teaching profession is highly regulated, both by legislation and by groups like the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. While federal and state laws focus on curriculum standards, the requirements for teacher certification, and the skills required of teacher certification programs, the NBPTS focuses more on the core skills and competencies that a successful teacher must have if they wish to master every aspect of leading the classroom and accommodating students. The board is nearly 30 years old, and offers a number of ways for teachers to improve their professional performance.
Founded to Prepare Teachers for the 21st Century
In 1986, a report was published by researchers that detailed the massive changes necessary to adapt education to a 21st century world. The report noted that many teachers were simply not prepared for the major demographic and technological changes that would await them as the 20th century came to a close. In response, high-ranking educators across the country founded the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The organization’s purpose was to create a set of professional skills and standards that would guide teachers to proper preparation for both current and future education needs. Through a combination of voluntary certification, self-assessments, and optional membership, the organization would help to close the gap between teachers of the 20th century and students of the 21st century.
Introduction of National Board Certification
One of the key aspects of the organization has been its development of “board certification” for today’s teachers. The certification is voluntary, and teachers can prepare using a large number of official printed and electronic materials. The certification requires passing an exam that focuses on current educational technology, best practices in a variety of classroom scenarios, and how to best interact with parents and administrators in important situations. The computerized exam is offered nationwide and, though not required, is an impressive way for educators to show their commitment to professional development and ongoing training.
The organization has also developed a similar “board certification” for aspiring or existing school principals. That exam is in a similar format, though it focuses on questions and issues of leadership, collaboration, community involvement, and student interactions. Like the board certification for teachers, this exam is optional and exists only as an extra credential for serious leaders.
Recognition of Excellent Teachers Nationwide
Another component of the National Board is its commitment to recognition of teachers who go above and beyond in their daily professional life. The organization recognizes at least one individual each year that best exemplifies the board’s commitment to 21st century teaching, classroom technology, and best practices. With a broad membership of more than 91,000 educators nationwide, recognition by this industry group carries significant weight among school administrators.
Educational Research and Ongoing Standards Refinement
The NBPTS maintains a large staff that is fully committed to educational research. This research attempts to find new and emerging technologies, teaching methods, and international trends, all of which may be incorporated into the organization’s core standards and official mission. Publication of this research often informs changes not only to the teaching profession, but also to the undergraduate and graduate-level teacher preparation programs that create the next generation of educators.
An Organization with a Far-Reaching Professional Impact
The NBPTS is a major organization within the education industry, with its own certifications, research, standards, and honors. Teachers who wish to better themselves, impress administrators, and communicate better with parents should therefore pay attention to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and its various publications, surveys, standards, and certifications.