Too often, PD is treated like a college lecture, the complete opposite of what we are asked to do as teachers with our students. The most successful sessions that folks remembered were those where choice was involved and the opportunity to learn something new and practice it were provided.
Turns out teachers do want to learn and be inspired, but enough bad experiences with PD have put them off in a way that is sometimes hard to get them back.
We all just want materials that we can take back into our classroom the very next day. If the ideas are too esoteric, they won’t translate the way they need to
Not too ironically, teachers are a lot like the students we teach. We want to be a part of what is going on so that we can have some ownership in what we learn AND we are not all the same. Since our needs are wildly different, one size can’t fit all.
Here is some of what I’ve learned:
- PD can be flipped the same way a classroom can be – as per Sharon Plante
- PD should include a way to get teachers involved, hands on activities
- PD should provide choice – perhaps allowing teachers to take part in a G-survey and then allow that to drive sessions
- PD should be differentiated and meaningful to everyone
- PD should be planned with teachers – organized with purpose and in advance
- PD should be led by teachers sometimes
- Guest speakers should sometimes be brought in for PD: Folks like Alan November from November Learning or Dave Burgess, author of Teach like a Pirate
- PD should include the opportunity to learn new technologies and the time to play with them and brainstorm ways to use them effectively
- PD should be collaborative with our colleagues – a conversation, something worthwhile that engages us
- PD should offer variety – like an edcamp - teachers should be able to choose on the day
- PD can happen in the back channel and we should be aware of what is happening that isn’t in front of us
- PD should encourage open minds and inspire further learning – it doesn’t have to happen in the meeting – Twitter Chats are really useful PD
- PD should offer and allow time for reflection of learning – make it important
- Blogging about PD is one way to reflect on what is learned and how it will be used
What was your most memorable PD experiences and why? Do they fit into any of the above categories? Please share