Killer PD

What if we "axed" district/school-mandated PD for a year?

Photo of Melissa Lim

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Instead, what if we allowed teachers to follow their own learning paths and focus on planning the best lessons and activities for their students? How might teachers demonstrate their learning over the course of that year? Is there a building-wide tool that could used for sharing? Individuals could create monthly/yearly learning plans where they set their own benchmarks on how they are continuing their own education that aligns with school and district goals.

By killing mandated professional development, we are truly modeling an authentic learning process for our students.

Photo credit: Alan Levine


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Photo of anuradha ghulati

I too liked the idea of intentional and purposeful ! Deliverable add value to the intention and purpose. I strongly feel that some PD crucials need to be dealt with  in a PD session by the authorities and others could be optional where the teacher discovers self and is intrinsically inspired for ownership. Also the calibre of teachers hired makes a difference...Impact on students !  

Photo of Allan Barnes

We are degreed professionals, and some of us have even had other careers before becoming full time teachers. Why can't admin simply trust us to do PD on our own?  I spent an hour last month with another visual arts teacher a neighboring school. This is a person that met at a photography conference last summer, a conference that I went to on my own time and dime. I got some useful ideas about what to do with my advanced class. The plethora of networking sites is great, but there is something greater about having the time and/or financial support to go to a conference and meet other people who teach what you teach, and hang out with them. I just got contacted by a fellow Photography instructor who teaches college photo classes, and I am getting paid by the University of Southern Nevada to teach their faculty member how to do some alternative photo processes! I already know that I am going to learn some cool things from him that I can use for my classes. His supervisors simply encouraged him to go out and find his own path of PD, and gave him the financial support to do it..Seems like a better model, yes?

Photo of Chris Good

Charles, I like where you are going....but what would it look like if we substituted INTENTIONAL or PURPOSEFUL instead of optional? I love your idea of choice, I wonder if it becomes even stronger if choice combines with purpose? Melissa, What kind of structure would you envision? I love this idea of building a scaffold - one that creates a framework for teachers to get started and not feel lost or overwhelmed but is loose enough to allow others to stretch the boundaries and go beyond.

Photo of Melissa Lim

I was thinking all of those things: optional, intentional, purposeful. It's all driven by teacher choice. The teacher has an individual plan and then on staff meeting days, the administrator lets everyone know what professional learning will be for that session. Attend if you need that learning experience, otherwise, choose from your personal learning menu.

Photo of John Faig

I love the idea of INTENTIONAL or PURPOSEFUL! I would add one additional caveat - a deliverable. I've seen teachers visit other schools and go to conferences they've selected. They come back with a notebook full of ideas and it never gets transferred into their teaching. A plan is KEY, such as, "I am going to conference X and I'm going to create one technology-infused lesson plan and recast at least one other lesson plan or project."

Photo of Melissa Lim

Like that too, John. A deliverable for sharing with everyone else!

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV

This speaks to me. Would the effect be the same if all PD sessions were made optional?

Photo of Ryan Smith

Perhaps all PD sessions should be optional, but PD itself is required.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV

I'm seeing a theme of choice emerging in a lot of the posts. I hope to see that carry forward into the Ideate phase.

Photo of Ryan Smith

Choice is awesome. And this idea is awesome. And it all comes down to hiring the right people. I helped open a school once where we were able to hire everyone and this would have worked.

Photo of Jay Nickerson

I love this idea... maybe even an EdCamp model.

The challenge lies in the fact that often districts use PD to try to build community or consistency between schools. How might we communicate that by giving teachers freedom, we may actually establish much more community and consistency?

Photo of Paula Marra

Hi Melissa,

YES! How awesome would that be! To be able to decide and to live it! Look forward to reading more! Cheers, Paula