- Providing high-quality professional development opportunities with ever-limited budgets and time proves challenging for administrators nationwide, but District Administration offers seven tips to help do so effectively and efficiently.
- Among strategies administrators can utilize is the offering of various formats, including hybrid face-to-face/digital models; involve teachers in training around topics they have particular experience in; keep individual sessions around a half-hour each and offer recordings afterwards; and build a culture of trust that allows time for mistakes.
- Furthermore, professional development should be enhanced with both networking opportunities and leadership support, and formats like podcasts or short digital modules should be considered to reach especially busy educators at their convenience.
Professional learning opportunities don't have to be elaborate, drawn-out affairs. In fact, as Project Tomorrow's recent Speak Up Survey shows, the delivery method is trending toward more self-directed formats. Just as sit-and-get, one-size-fits-all approaches have fallen out of favor for teaching students, so too has been the case for delivering PD, with digital resources making it easier to provide individual educators with training in the specific areas they want or need to improve in when they need it.
The advent of micro-credentialing and digital badging has only made that process easier, with small groups or individual teachers able to earn a tangible credential demonstrating they've gained a particular skill. And these approaches can also cost less in the long run that a traditional seminar approach to PD, allowing administrators to stretch PD funding further and hopefully increase returns on student achievement resulting from better pedagogy.
Beyond methods that produce a credential, social media platforms have also made it easier for educators to seek advice and new skills from peers worldwide. On Twitter, for example, this has taken shape in the form of "PD in your PJs" via hashtags like #BFC530, which is also known as "The Breakfast Club." (The "530" implies the time of morning the chats using the hashtag tend to ramp up.)
The more connected an educator becomes through these new outlets, the more skills they can gain on their pathway to instructional leadership and peer mentoring opportunities.