Professional development has changed drastically, for the better, since I began my career. Long gone are the days of “sit and get, one size fits all” pd. Thank goodness! Professional development is more personalized with teachers taking control and leading it often.
The tenets of high quality professional development include:
Opportunities for modeling, practice, and feedback
Some of my favorites that we are using right now are fun, innovative, and engaging. We are in the second year of Twitter Chats in my district. This year I decided that we would feature a current educational book and author each week. I purchase multiple copies of the books to give away the day following the chats. Authors have been most gracious to join us. We have a terrific line up scheduled for every Monday night at 8:00PM MST. Check us out at #ssdedu.
Another way that we are rolling out book studies this year is entitled, “Pot Luck and PD.” Several of us have chosen books to read and lead. Our discussions take place over 4 potlucks during the quarter. They are held in various homes with lively conversation, great food, wine, and enthusiasm for the craft of teaching.
We have all enjoyed going to EdCamps. We have taken the EdCamp model a step further. We offered lane advancement for teachers who took an idea that they got at our #edcampdotour and wrote a proposal for a project. We had several requirements for these proposals to get approved. There had to be 8 hours of work involved in addition to attending the edcamp. These 8 hours had to have the following components:
Research that included a reference page with 3 sources for every hour to be credited. (3 hours of research on the proposal would have a reference page with 9 sources.)
Implementing the project with it documented using technology.
The sharing of the project with either an entire staff or department to further disseminate the learning to others.
A reflection paper that includes lessons learned, value added, and next steps.
The projects proposed are amazing. They are teacher developed and teacher led. This seems to be the trend in our district. We are all learning from each other and everyone has something to share. Our professional development opportunities this year are vast and teachers are taking advantage of every type offered. The staff is truly modeling what it means to be lifelong learners.
We are promoting professional development at its best-for the teachers developed and led by the teachers. This ain’t your mama’s professional development!