How to deliver PL that really works

5 best practices to take your district’s professional learning to the next level

2. Give teachers voice and choice
For PL to be engaging, teachers need a voice in what they’ll learn and a choice in when they’ll learn it. “At NWEA, all of our on-site PL includes learning centers. For 30 minutes in a half- or full-day workshop, teachers choose one of three topics to explore in depth. They do one session in-person and go home with materials for the other two.”

3. Determine short- and long-term goals
Set goals and be sure to communicate them with your teachers. Dyer says it’s really important to let everyone know your goals and how they relate to change.

4. Make sure everyone knows the success metrics
Teachers (and other participants) need to know what the success criteria are.

5. Have a plan in place for ongoing support
Determine how leadership will support the learning as it moves from Wednesday’s PL session back into the classroom and into the next three to five years: Provide coaching, PLCs, and other embedded long-term ways to change behavior and mindset that are a result of the PL.

“I ask administrators, ‘What challenges you as a learner? What was your best-ever learning experience?’” says Dyer. “As they brainstorm and share, I add one more question: ‘What made it the best?’”

When administrators think about what makes the learning stick, they are able to translate that to their staff.

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