Survey shows trend toward more self-directed professional learning
- Data from Project Tomorrow's recently released Speak Up Survey shows teacher preferences for face-to-face professional learning conferences declining from 47% in 2010 to 40% in 2017, according to eSchool News.
- Videos or TED Talks showed the highest preference rates, up to 46% from 40%, followed by participating in webinars or online conferences (34%), using social networks to learn from peers (33%), taking individual online courses (23%), and following education experts or peers on social media (23%).
- The survey also found that teachers aren't comfortable with new practices like using digital tools for student collaboration, personalizing learning for each student, or creating project-based experiences. Plus, they also want more time to collaborate with peers, traditional PD opportunities, in-school coaching, virtual coaching, and help with classroom management strategies.
Knowing where teachers' heads are at when it comes to professional development options and strategies can help administrators better provide options that will show the most results in student outcomes. On the Speak Up Survey, teachers' PD wish lists included 47% wanting training on how to use tech to provide differentiated instruction, 29% wanted to know how to use it for formative assessment, and 28% wanted more information on using a blended learning model.
The data on preferred modes of delivery for professional learning ultimately show a trend toward more self-directed PD. Programs offering micro-credentials and digital badges are among new tools that can help simplify these efforts, allowing small groups or individual teachers to pursue skill sets they want or need to improve the most. This, in turn, could potentially help administrators maximize funding for PD that would otherwise mostly be spent on large "sit-and-get" programs that might not offer the same returns.
Ultimately, giving teachers more opportunities to expand and improve their craft where they see the most need based on their own classrooms, while also moving away from a one-size-fits-all learning approach that is frowned upon as a model for students, can help prevent boredom and burnout while inspiring more instructional creativity.
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