4: Build a culture of risk-taking: Once educators are connected and practicing their craft they will be much more likely to take chances; however, this takes time and confidence. Remember, meaningful PD must be continuous, on-demand and social. Imagine being able to invite a trusted colleague into your classroom to watch your instruction, or better yet, to watch them teach to your students. Well, that is the idea behind embedded professional development and it helps to accelerate this process.
Teachers, and all people for that matter, are more likely to experiment when they are supported and receive immediate feedback from people they trust. The internet now makes it possible for educators to share their practice with each other and receive instant feedback.
At Teq, embedded PD takes many forms, in person/classroom both physically and virtually, as well as synchronous and asynchronous dialogue around recorded lessons. You can do this too; simply start small and you will be amazed how quickly your network will grow.
5: Build in follow-up: Finally, just as students require repeated review and testing to ensure key concepts have been grasped, professional development can’t be a one-time happening that’s then set aside until it’s time for the next in-service.
Teachers should to have the ability to go back and revisit PD tools and information, as well as ask clarifying questions once they’ve had the opportunity to use new skills or tools in the classroom. Providing deliberate follow-up reinforces new materials and also shows which development activities are yielding the most real-world value and results over time.
These key ideas open the door to a PD program that empowers teachers and has lasting impact. Not only can professional development created this way be engaging, valuable, and a reinvigorating experience that educators look forward to, it can also be an effective tool for transforming the culture and performance of a school.
Joe Dixon is Chief Learning Officer at Teq.