2. Creative Engagement
To fully engage learning educators, PD should be tailored to the content areas they teach. Collaborative teacher learning is another great way to kick-start engagement just by opening the door for teachers to engage with each other.
Other, more subtle techniques, such as incorporating humor or using puzzles with the lessons, can take that engagement so much farther. Teachers are natural problem-solvers and learn effectively if the lesson is presented in a problem format. Not only can this encourage team-building and creative thinking, but it’s a way to get those involved deeply immersed in the method itself. They become part of the learning process, not just someone to be fed information.
3. Goals That Feel Important
Ongoing professional development allows for goal-setting that can boost teacher engagement and retention. Many PLCs find success when, through their collaboration, they establish a plan for their PD with set learning goals and outcomes along the way. Benchmarks like these encourage further teacher involvement through goal-tracking and self-monitored improvement.
A few things to consider with this approach:
- Start from the end and work backwards.
- Communicate the goals to those involved.
- Ensure that the goals feel important to all team members involved.
- Spread it out: we never learn something by looking at it once.
- Encourage teachers to come back with questions, share what they have learned, apply the successes, and try new things.
4. Online Access
Once you’ve made the effort to offer ongoing PD in an engaging, collaborative environment, you owe it to yourself to make materials easy to access. Online access is the simplest approach.
When I was developing the Online Professional Development Course for Reading Horizons, we knew we wanted to provide access to our teachers anytime and anywhere they needed it.
Having a resource that your team can log on to from their computers, laptops, and even smartphones means that even when they’re away from the support of their PLC, they can feel assured that they still have the resources they need. This could inspire them to take a quick refresher on a technique they learned a few weeks ago, or watch a short demonstrational video to remember the visuals for applying a certain technique. Online courses like these should always be at their fingertips, not only to boost their confidence in what they’re teaching but to help ensure that no matter the circumstance, they’ll always be prepared to masterfully teach essential methods and technology to the students who need it.