A quote I heard recently from James Ludwig, VP of Global Design for Steelcase, resonated strongly with me. Ludwig was speaking at an event called "Oneder" put on by One Workplace when he said,"Everything begins with curiosity. Then comes literacy. Then comes fluency." Ludwig was not talking about teacher professional development, but his comment very much supports my view of what makes any learning experience engaging and impactful: the learner has to have a genuine interest and curiosity in the subject at hand.
For this reason, I am opposed to "top-down" approaches to professional learning where school or district leadership require all teachers (or those of a certain subject area or grade level) to participate in a narrow set of PD opportunities. While the uniformity of this approach may seem logical from an implementation standpoint, the reality is that teachers, like students, are human and have different interests, needs, and learning styles. Allowing teachers more freedom to seek out professional learning opportunities that spark their curiosity and truly engage them as learners will, in my view, lead to much more meaningful and worthwhile professional development that will actually impact teaching and learning in schools and classrooms.