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: ● Specific ● Measurable ● Attainable ● Relevant ● Time-bound Gamification Games with levels and goals, like this one at Bettendorf Community School [...]
The most effective Teacher Professional Development (TPD) programs treat teachers as lifelong learners who want to integrate new curricular methods, content, and strategies into their classrooms. The Learning Policy Institute culled findings from 35 reports to describe the most effective TPD. Effective TPD is: ● Content focused ● Collaborative ● Sustained ● Coaching based ● Ongoing How can you include these elements into your TPD planning? Use the following steps. 1. Incorporate real-world modeling situations. The classroom shouldn’t be the first place teachers use new strategies. Instead, TPD should offer teacher opportunities to model classroom approaches to other attendees. Some examples might include: ● Interactive lectures ● Field or lab experiences ● Inquiry-oriented activities 2. Build in time to let teachers implement lesson plans and receive feedback. The best TPD gives teachers opportunities to try out their newly constructed lesson plans within weeks. Afterward, scaffold in time for feedback on other teachers’ new lessons and rubrics. This peer-to-peer collaboration can also last long after the TPD if teachers are given opportunity and means to share [...]
Being a teacher is a continuous process of engaging with new techniques, evaluating new tools, and re-examining current practice.