Who hasn’t attended a tech workshop at a conference, been all fired up to implement some of the new ideas, only to have difficulty making them work in the classroom? The closer that a training is to the context, location, and need of the teacher, the more likely that learning will be generalized and extend into actual classroom practice. Professional development needs to be part of the teacher’s daily schedule during class time or prep time. Big ideas and big changes are hard to implement. A series of baby steps leading, when followed consistently, up to that same change are much easier to accomplish.
Professional Development also need to be monitored and followed up on to ensure fidelity. You treasure what you measure and a an admin is only as good as his/her follow through. Some teachers will naturally gravitate toward improvement and change, while others will need the occasional nudge to embrace a culture of PD and growth.
Eanes ISD’s iLeap Academy is a great blend of traditional and embedded training. Targeted toward teachers learning how to effectively increase learning and engagement with technology, the training is one of the better opportunities I’ve seen for teachers in quite some time. The first day includes traditional, though excellent workshop based training. Participants have many opportunities to practice in a supportive environment. On the second day, teachers are allowed to shadow and then teach in one of the classrooms in Eanes ISD in their subject area. This provides a bridge to the job-embedded training that teachers so desperately need.
Say what you like about the tenets of [professional development], at least it’s an ethos.
Peer Ed. (0). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h679fRuKMc
Walter and Lebowski [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://gutenfilm.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/hall-of-greats-the-big-lebowski/
Knight, J. . Instructional coaching, a partnership approach to improving instruction. Corwin Press, print.