- In a piece for District Administration, the Northwest Evaluation Association's Jean Fleming offers seven tips for creating professional development opportunities that build teacher capacity and show direct results in student achievement.
- For effective PD, Fleming says schools and districts must align professional learning to academic goals, identify goals for specific teams and individuals, build collaboration and planning time into teachers' schedules, make PD relevant to curricula, offer actionable metrics, and keep educators engaged.
- Fleming also shared a less-than-inspirational professional development experience from her teaching days, in which 700 educators participated in an auditorium-based "sit-and-get" learning session and given clown noses to illustrate the humor in their work.
Just as instructional methods for students are being reevaluated, so too are approaches to professional learning for teachers. One thing is certain for both: The one-size-fits-all, "sit-and-get" method — which relies on a "sage on a stage" approach where someone lectures to a crowd — is no longer effective.
One way schools and districts can ensure educators stay engaged is by offering personalized PD opportunities. This has become increasingly more manageable in recent years with the advent of micro-credentialing, which can allow educators to zero in their professional learning on specific skills or strategies they want to improve.
Additionally, particularly when it comes to tech training, approaches like coaching that provide teachers an opportunity to learn “with" and not just about a tool have shown efficacy in smoothing their introduction to the classroom. Schools and districts can further bolster these efforts by partnering with vendors, libraries, and local higher ed institutions to round out available resources and options.