Professional Development in Schools
For my third and final module, I needed to research articles about how schools use Professional Development days to teach teachers how to use technology in their classrooms. There were many articles and websites that gave ideas and opinions about this topic, I was lucky enough to find a few that shared some good ideas as well made me think about planning my own development days.
The first idea that I really liked was about making professional development days more individualized. Even though I teach at a very small school and we have a very small staff, the comfort level our teachers have with using technology varies greatly. In my four years teaching, I have been apart of many professional development meetings. During these meetings we have had professionals come in and talk to us, our own teachers give presentations and staff conversations. We have had meetings where it feels like a lot gets accomplished, and we have had meetings where it feels like we did not get anything done.
When I reflect on the meetings that I feel were not very effective, I ask myself what happened and why the meeting was not very successful. When I answer these questions I usually come back to one reason, I was bored and lost interest in the topic. In other words, I was not engaged. One topic I found information on was on making professional development days more individualized. Because we are all on different levels of technology ability, we cannot start at the same spot. The presenter must have a variety of topics to get the teachers started and then allow them to work on those projects at their comfort level. By allowing teachers to immediately work on they can give instant feedback and get more comfortable with whatever they are working on.
Another reason I liked the way these meetings go is because each teacher is working at their level and hopefully nothing is going over their heads. When I look back at some of our other unsuccessful meetings, I remember many of the instructors lecturing at us while we sat and somewhat listened. Lecturing to our students while they sit in their desks is one of the strategies we are told to get away from. The students are not engaged and therefore, more than likely not learning much.
During Professional Development Meetings, the teachers are the students and the strategies are pretty much the same. Adults will not learn if they are not motivated. I know plenty of adults who cannot even think about going to school or sitting in any situation like a classroom. No matter what the topic is, the teachers must be engaged and motivated, just like in a regular classroom.
If teachers are reached at their own comfort level and are motivated to try something new, they may get a lot accomplished and the development meeting will be a success!