Teachers aim to make instruction more learner centered, so why aren’t we doing the same for educators when planning professional development? What’s the most valuable quality of PD according to most teachers? Personalization.
Personalized professional development lets teachers focus on their individual students and classrooms as new challenges arise and new resources become available. Some notable benefits include:
● Specialized training matches the level of individualization offered in other fields.
● Individualized surveys and needs assessments can provide more specific information on a case-by-case basis and meet immediate needs.
● Teacher can focus on building on their own strengths and weaknesses.
The benefits of personalized professional development are clear. But how can you implement a customized program in your district?
Examples of Customized PD
Individual Learning Plans
Montpelier School District lets teachers create Individual Professional Development Plans (IPDPs) that help them meet unique personal and district-wide development goals that follow the SMART model:
Games with levels and goals, like this one at Bettendorf Community School District, encourage teachers to learn new skills and competencies while focusing on district needs—and motivating with well-deserved fun!
Personal Learning Networks (PLNs)
Personalized Learning Networks (PLNs) let teachers connect with online or in-person communities of teachers with similar goals. Some innovative online PLNs, like KQED Education, create collaborative teacher communities based on subject matter.
Microcredentialing, or demonstrating mastery of single competencies, is gaining popularity in school districts in Delaware, Florida, and Tennessee. Some districts even reward micro-credentialing with digital badges for display on LinkedIn or elsewhere.
Like students, teachers are more engaged when they’re given the opportunity to customize their professional development. The takeaway is clear: Teachers benefit from individualized learning, too.