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Hello there and welcome to this lesson, which is all about how to analyze your professional development plan in order to ensure that it's aligned to adult learning theories. In this case, Malcolm Knowles' fifth assumption of internal motivation. Let's begin.
This is a photograph that my friend shared with me along with a story. My friend is the proud grandmother of this little girl who she describes as a determined little cookie, and for good reason. Here's the story behind why the girl is wearing her baseball cap on backwards.
In the background you can see a slide. When she was climbing the ladder to that slide, her cap kept bumping into the rungs above her. This happened a few times and it was starting to bother her, however she persevered. She was determined and motivated to get to the top of the ladder, and it was that intrinsic motivation that prompted her to put her hat on backwards.
Professional development helps us grow and improve our practice. For designers of professional development, it's essential that adult learning theories are considered, including Malcolm Knowles' six assumptions of the adult learner. When they are able to make connections between their personal learning, classroom practices, and the skills found in adult learning theories, professional growth is realized. This is possible if the learning plan is aligned to the learning theories, and this three step process will help you do that.
The first step is to identify areas of existing alignment. Next, you identify areas of misalignment. And finally, you identify areas that can be improved or enhanced. This analysis is meant to be reflective in nature, thus potentially leading to solutions and recommendations. There are no wrong answers here.
As mentioned earlier, the fifth assumption is motivation. Knowles states that as a person matures the motivation becomes internal. In order to model the steps of the alignment process, we're going to need an example of a professional development. So here it is.
A fourth grade teacher decides to do a service learning project with her students. She's not sure how to begin or what the project will specifically be, so she uses Twitter to reach out to other teachers who have done service learning projects with their students, and receives many responses full of advice and resources. Now it's time to answer some questions that will help us check for alignment with assumption five, internal motivation.
Step one is to find out if this assumption is aligned with our professional development plan. Here are the questions to ask that will help us determine this. Does the professional development activity increase one's internal motivators? This example is unique because using Twitter is not what you traditionally think of when it comes to professional development, but it certainly increases one's internal motivation.
Does the PD align with a teacher's internal motivators? Since this teacher is tech and social media savvy, using Twitter certainly matches their internal motivators. Since this entire learning opportunity is driven by the teacher, it definitely increases self-efficacy. And lastly, the process of using a nontraditional means of professional development, in this case Twitter, will help the teacher grow professionally and personally as well.
The second step is to identify any areas of misalignment, in terms of aligning the PD with assumption five. Does anything need to be changed to involve the learner and their internal motivators? Using Twitter for professional development is actually a really good example of an individual demonstrating self-efficacy to improve something through new learning.
What can be done differently to increase or align with the internal motivation for the participants? As an administrator, I would make a point of asking this teacher to share her work and process with the rest of the staff as a means of modeling it. The final step is to look for the areas where we can enhance or improve the plan, or make it stronger.
What needs to be changed in order for optimal learning to happen for this adult? The best PD is self-directed and initiated by the learner. This example epitomizes that belief. The only thing this individual needs is encouragement and support from their administrators to go ahead with their project.
So it's time to go ahead and summarize this lesson. We started by introducing the importance of aligning professional development with adult learning theories, in general. We looked at the three steps of identifying alignment, identifying misalignment, and looking for places where we can enhance alignment, specifically against Knowles' fifth assumption of internal motivation. I also modeled an example of an analysis of a professional learning opportunity using a series of questions.
And now for today's food for thought. As an educator, do your practices encourage learners to be intrinsically motivated, or do you rely on extrinsic motivation? To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, check out the additional resources section that come with this video. Here you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. As, always, thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.
(00:50-01:34) The Steps
(01:35-02:11) Internal Motivation
(02:12-02:56) Step 1
(02:57-03:29) Step 2
(03:30-03:52) Step 3
(03:53-04:44) Food For Thought/Summary
Teachers as Adult Learners: Re-conceptualizing Professional Development
This research article from the MPAEA Journal of Adult Education points to the importance of considering andragogy in the creation and delivery of professional development.
A Handbook for Professional Learning: Research, Resources, and Strategies for Implementation
This guidebook from the New York City Department of Education incorporates Adult Learning Theory into its model of professional learning. Included in the handbook are useful planning and evaluation tools.