Powerful PD Depends on Powerful Pedagogy

PD that is valuable and worth a teacher’s time should utilize pedagogical practices that reach toward the ideal.

Photo of Jessica Hadid
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Professional development that is valuable and worth a teacher’s time should utilize pedagogical practices that reach toward the ideal. This is not to say that the session must incorporate group work, or that it cannot include some “saging” on the stage at strategic intervals. Asking participants to work in groups, in and of itself, is not a sound pedagogical practice. What participants are asked to do in those groups, whether working in groups for this specific activity is beneficial to the learning, and how well the activity is structured to make best use of the group model, these determine the pedagogical soundness of the group work. Other, and perhaps far more important pedagogical practices come into play: How information is arrived at (constructively? by rote?); How internalization of that information is assessed (by application? by regurgitation?). When we design learning opportunities for professional teachers we must utilize powerful pedagogical practices. Why? Because how knowledge is constructed is central to how we learn. Modeling is a powerful teaching tool, whether it provides a negative or positive example. 


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Photo of Eric Patnoudes

Does technology improve education? Technology alone? No. Teachers whose pedagogy has evolved through professional development to design instruction in ways that empower students to use modern problem solving skills and give them an authentic purpose for learning while leveraging the affordances of technology to provide learning opportunities that didn't otherwise exist? Absolutely! The problem is that many schools purchase technology and change NOTHING else in the teaching and learning equation. I totally agree with your remarks and I'm a big advocate for differentiating between Training (How) and PD (Why) when talking about professional learning.

Photo of John Faig

Technology is a catalyst for teachers to rethink their pedagogy and curriculum. Unfortunately, if teachers are not already doing this on a regular basis, the technology becomes a target for blame.