- Writing for EdTech: Focus on K-12, Steve Dembo, former director of learning communities for Discovery Education and a consultant on professional development strategies, offers three tips for “de-zombifying” professional development.
- Dembo recommends that the PD sessions become more active and interactive, and that participants move around and discuss ideas in a flexible, learning environment — an idea he borrowed from modern K-12 educational theory.
- Dembo also suggests handing out laser pointers and using Twitter, EdCamp and other tech solutions to engage staff and make professional development more fun.
A recent humorous video making the rounds on Facebook illustrates the way most teachers feel during staff meetings and professional development sessions. Teachers are people, too, and after a long day or week of teaching, they need professional development to be something that will excite and inspire them rather than cause them to question their career choice. Administrators and school leaders expect their teachers to find ways to engage students with the curriculum and resources available, and they need to be willing to do that themselves when it comes to developing teachers.
Many of the same strategies that are used in the classroom can be adapted for use in professional development sessions to make sessions more meaningful and effective. For instance, the flipped classroom model can be adapted for PD and allow for more meaningful discussion during sessions and better use of time. The use of technology offers a wide range of professional development tools and web tools that can not only engage teachers, but can offer them practice with more tools to use in their own classrooms. Making professional development sessions more fun can not only result on more effective teachers, but can also increase teacher satisfaction as well — a great retention strategy.