Teachers need more say in decisions about their own professional learning
- Other industries have been personalizing their professional development (PD) and making it more collaborative, thus improving their return on investment and empowering employees. Schools need to take the same approach, Ron Huberman, former CEO and superintendent for Chicago Public Schools, writes in a District Administration article.
- Even though personalized learning has been a priority for many school districts, a recent study from Learning Forward reveals that almost 20% of teachers have no input at all in their PD choices.
- When choosing PD, Huberman suggests that administrators ask the right questions to determine strengths or weaknesses of teachers; encourage peer-to-peer observation and feedback, and use student assessment data to deliver a personalized approach.
Professional development is an important element in improving the educational process. However, inefficient and ineffective professional development can often feel like a waste of time and resources and tends to annoy teachers rather than engage them. There are strategies, however, that administrators can use to improve professional development.
One of the best ways is empowering teachers by giving them a voice in the process and finding out what they want and need to learn. Some PD may still need to be done as a whole, especially when administrators need to introduce a new educational framework or technology, or simply need to get everyone on the same page. However, personalizing the PD process by guiding teachers into areas they most need to develop makes the process more relevant to them and is a more direct way of improving instruction.
Some schools are also experimenting with incorporating student voice into PD decisions. Whatever, the approach, school leaders need to make sure that PD is effective, engaging and makes the best use of time and resources.
- District Administration Putting the professional back in K12 professional development