“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ” By Benjamin Franklin
The research on professional development shows that the older “drive‐by” workshop model does not work. We also know that no two people learn the same way; yet many of us do not change the way we provide instruction for students nor professional development for teachers.
Just as we personalize education for students, we must also personalizing professional learning for adults. Notice I said professional learning, this is because I want to make a clear distinction between professional development and professional learning because to me, PD is a one and done verse professional learning improves educators professional knowledge, competence, skill and effectiveness.
Best practices for personalized professional learning closely parallels best practices for personalized learning for students. There are three key pieces we should be doing with professional learning opportunities for educators:
- Content: We need to relate the content to the classroom/school just like we relate content to real world for students as this is an educators ‘real world’. We also need to provide the learning goal and how it relates to the educator. For example explaining how it connects to their teacher evaluation.
- Data and Feedback: We need to meet educators where they are and we can use data to do that. Having educators take a pre-assessment on the topic of the professional learning will allow the educator to start where they should. Educators should also be able to ‘test out’ of professional learning opportunities if they can show mastery of the skill, competence etc.
- Learning Environment: We need to rethink time, duration, and frequency of professional learning. Professional learning should be continuous and ongoing, involving follow‐up and support meeting the teacher where they are in their teaching craft. Educators should have the option/choice of face to face, virtual or blended professional learning opportunities so they can learn in their best environment.
Here is an example of professional learning based on these three key pieces. If you want educators to learn about morning meeting you need to have a goal for the content: Example – I will be able to effectively implement Morning Meeting into my classroom. This correlates to standard II of the North Carolina Evaluation. Then you need to provide the option of allowing educators to show they have mastered this topic. This can be done multiple ways for example they can provide a video of them implementing morning meeting or they can have someone do an observation while they are conducting a morning meeting. For the educators that don’t ‘test out’ we need need to have a pre-assessment to see where educators are in their understanding of morning meeting. We need to use this data to place educators in the correct professional learning path based on their needs.
Next week I will share some of the other ways we can reframe the paradigm for professional learning!