Teachers have a love/hate relationship with Professional Development. On the one hand we love it and appreciate it because when it’s good, it can truly help us in the classroom, enhance our teaching, and help our students achieve more. But when it’s bad…well…let’s just say that teachers have 200 other more useful things that they could be doing instead of sitting through another mandatory yet useless, poorly planned and irrelevant PD session. So, we might resent it a tad. And we might tune the speaker out. And we might also grade and plan lessons quietly while sitting there. Because even though the school does not always respect our time, we need to get our job done for the kids sake.
On this page you will find a different type of PD – and here I will call it Professional Learning in order to differentiate between the traditional offerings and the new approach to helping teachers grow their skill and thus influence the results in the classroom.
The 5 basic principles are explained in this short 5 minute video, with the research coming from a terrific study called Teaching the Teachers by the Center for Public Education. The PL sessions that are created here strive to embody these principles.
I have developed a year long program for PL in order to help move educators from the traditional model of teacher-centered, factory-style classroom environment to a Blended, Active and Student-centered approach. I will call it BAS here for short. This can of course be adapted to any type of classroom but mine is focused on the World Language Department in which I teach. You can find the outline for the year-long, ongoing PL sessions here.
In order to foster collaboration, ongoing support and self-directed learning, I have also provided for a LMS space in which the teachers in my department can go and glean further resources regarding the topics covered in the PL sessions. This is a place of continued learning and sharing designed to assist teachers during the BAS implementation process, created with the goal to supply additional videos, articles and a platform for communicating about these concepts. It will also house all of the training materials needed in order to conduct a successful PL session. However you can sample some of the materials here as well.
Professional Learning can be a blessing to teachers and a way to keep them current, relevant and at the top of their game as they grow their skills. Together we can demand for a higher quality training and this is just a glimpse of what that can look like.
Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability. Center for Public Education. PDF File. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf