- As focus has shifted away from providing students a one-size-fits-all educational experience, so too has conversation around doing the same for educators' professional development, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- This need for better PD is made all the more clear by research showing that districts spend an estimated $18,000 per teacher annually, that many haven't mastered critical skills and lack self-awareness when assessing themselves, and only about 30% were found to improve their skills over two years.
- To solve this problem, EdTech suggests providing differentiated PD pathways where educators can map out progress in relevant competency areas; offer follow-up in the form of resources, assessment, reinforcement and support; and make sure they're held accountable with something clear and measurable to work toward, like a microcredential.
If differentiated, personalized instruction is best for educating students, it stands to reason that it would also be an effective approach for teachers' professional learning opportunities, as well. Microcredentials have been eyed as one way to do this, providing opportunities for educators to pursue improvement in specific areas they personally have interest or need improvement in. Allowing that kind of freedom and flexibility can also prevent boredom and burnout.
Additionally, taking advantage of more personalized options could prove more affordable for administrators than purchasing a broad, one-size-fits-all, sit-and-get program. Regardless, the ultimate goal is seeing a return-on-investment in PD opportunities in terms of improved student learning. Working more closely with educators to make sure they have access to options that truly expand and strengthen their pedagogical repertoires stands to reason as a more effective means of doing so.