Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Stick Figure, Clker, http://bit.ly/1JoIB83; Lightbulb Man, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1IRTL98; Chat, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1hy8hsa; Whiteboard, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1IGN7B2; Teacher and Students, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1faPst4
Hello there, and welcome. In this lesson we will examine some of the various types of professional development activities that you, or your leadership team, can initiate at the school level. There's something here for everyone. So let's get started.
Have you ever watched someone who was so good at what they do, you just sit back in amazement? Sure you have. If you like movies, maybe it's a specific actor. If you're into music, it's a band or a musician. Maybe sports is your thing, and there's an athlete that you just have to see play. This is not only true for jobs that are in the spotlight. Think about the services you enjoy. Is it a chef at a particular restaurant? Or a hairstylist at a salon? The point is that we are surrounded by individuals who do amazing work.
As a school administrator, I am fortunate enough to see incredible teachers who are at the top of their game. And every day I learn something new just by watching them. In most cases, teachers probably don't have that opportunity to develop, and lead district-wide professional development. However, many are now encouraged to share their knowledge and skills with colleagues through grade level, or building wide, informal, professional development activities.
The practice of learning from peers is becoming quite common all over the country. This type of learning opportunity is met with great enthusiasm, because topics are born out of teachers identified needs. For example, teachers may determine that they need additional support to meet a particular standard identified through their evaluation for instance. By learning from one another, teachers realize the strengths of their colleagues, and this can often lead to peer observations.
The less formal nature of this learning also aligns to the many learning theories covered in this course, self-directed, andragogy, transformational, networked, social learning, and situated learning. Not all PD is alike, and there are many types of professional development activities that teachers can informally lead. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, and there are many other ways that teachers can learn from one another. But let's go through some of the most popular models right now.
Twitter is filled with chats specific to content, practices, and stages of development. However, your school can certainly engage in a social network, collegial discussion about a topic that is relevant to your situation. Finding time to meet in person is always a challenge, which is why developing and sharing a flipped professional development activity for your peers is such a viable and popular alternative. In my opinion, one of the most valuable, yet underutilized professional development activities, is observing classrooms structural practices, then discussing them with colleagues.
Developing mini unconferences within a team or school, where teachers volunteer to lead informal workshops for one another. Book talks are very popular amongst staffs. They can even target a particular instructional strategy. This is another example of a PD that can even be done virtually as a flipped lesson, as long as there's an opportunity for some peer-to-peer dialogue.
Lunch and learns are many workshops that are quick and informal, presented by a teacher or in an online webinar or video. The reason these are so important is because teachers often learn best from one another. These are great examples of self-directed approaches to learning, in which teachers can improve their instructional competencies while supporting one another.
There are some practical things to consider whenever professional development is being delivered. Particularly when teachers are the facilitators. First and foremost, you will want to check with your building administrator prior to developing and implementing a professional development activity at your school. Research tells us that professional development is most effective when it's ongoing and revisited. Also, be sure to include followup activities such as peer observations, peer feedback, self-reflection journals, and tracking through teacher evaluation checklists and rubrics.
Let's go ahead and summarize this lesson. We opened by describing what teacher-led professional development is. Next, we reviewed some specific examples of teacher-led professional developments. Finally, we covered some things you'll definitely want to consider if this is a model that you're going to try out.
Here's this lesson's food for thought. In an earlier slide I mentioned Twitter chats. If you're not familiar with them, I suggest you check them out. Conduct a Google search for educational Twitter chats, and you will find lists of the many conversations going on in our profession right now. Get on Twitter, and try joining in.
And something else you can do to dive a little deeper is to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. Here you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. As always, thanks for watching. We'll see you next time.
(00:15-00:54) Amazing All Around
(00:55-01:51) Teacher Led PD
(01:52-03:30) Types Of PD
(04:07-05:03) Summary/Food For Thought
Teaching the Teachers: At a Glance
This Center for Public Education page offers resources and best practices for creating and implementing teacher professional development that connects theory and practice.
TransparencyCamp: Tips and Tricks
This article provides tips for both running and attending an unconference.