The reason traditional professional development is ineffective is that it doesn’t support teachers during the
stage of learning with the steepest learning curve: implementation.
(Ermeling, 2010; Joyce and Showers, 1982)
Leadership can have a huge impact on professional development with some simple adjustments to the structure to re-engage teachers in quality growth and development.
Be at and run a workshop.
If annual initiatives and PD sessions are so important, admin needs to be there. Setting up a workshop day and then disappearing to do emails or other important things is ineffective. Teachers could also correct papers, get planning done, and collaborate - this stuff is also more important to them.
Make a huge impact by being at the workshops for their entirety. And even more, run a few workshops throughout the year. Be the principal teacher and show teachers how you implement the new initiatives or your use of best practices.
Focus on mastery, not new and improved.
Pick a professional development goal for yourself. Share it with your staff. Keep referencing it. For example, “I am going to incorporate 25% of my workshop time into thinking and modification of thinking activities and support adult learners.” Get feedback on this and show how you are working on mastery.
Now, do the same for teachers. Don’t expect a complex curriculum to get implemented in its entirety after one or two workshops. Do focus on ways to support implementation and provide time for feedback from peers. What’s more, determine what problem you want solved and to what standard. This is when mastery can be achieved.
Learn how to teach adults.
Teaching adults is nothing like teaching kids. Andragogy is different from pedagogy. Teaching adults should focus on facilitating adults. A first easy step here, don’t provide a lecture of any kind in a workshop for adults. It misses the mark substantially on delivering good PD.
The changes needed for better professional development are not un-achievable within the system education currently has. There are lots of small tweaks that if done intentionally result in huge gains and improvements in teacher efficacy.
Connect with us at www.agileideasleadership.com for resources on how to design better PD and upskill leadership soft skills.
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Agile Ideas Leadership Team