Students in PD

Professional development is always admin or teacher led, we serve students, have them present on how they want to learn.

Photo of Trever Reeh
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Overview: (What’s this idea about)

Professional learning has been led and driven by adults in a field where our consumers are students.  Giving our students a voice in professional development helps students be more engaged and motivated in the classroom.  

Potential Impact: (Why is this an idea that promotes continued growth?)

Students get unmotivated from material that isn't relevant to them in todays education.  Students who are interested in coding, publishing their own novel, and playing video games should be allowed to learn things that will help them grow, they should be learning these skills in a classroom.  Having professional development that is led by students and student focused, promotes students growth directly.  Struggling students should be focused on, what engages them?  Ask them!  Get them involved on what they want to learn.

Value/Prop Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal? Etc)

Students need a voice in teachers and their education.  Having students lead professional development on what they are interested, and learning new skills will be difficult.  Having higher engagement in our curricular areas is the main goal, having uninterested students interested is the main goal, and getting our students career and college ready is the main goal of education.  In education we need more student voice and choice and giving them a voice in professional development gives students a big advancement in their future.

How Do I Get This Idea Off The Ground:

  1.  Get students in smaller curricular meetings, where they can have a voice.
  2.  Talk to your student council, who are your students you can lean on to contribute, ask them to sit on professional development meetings.
  3.  Ask your principal and administration if you can include students in other professional development.
  4. Get all students the chance to have their voice heard in professional development meetings.

How You Can Get Started:

  • Collect information regarding needs & interest of students.
  • Have a "Speed Dating" event in your classroom or as professional development where students and staff can quickly get to know one another by asking simple questions. (i.e. "What do you like to do?" "What is your favorite TV show?", etc.)
  • Talk to your department about having a few student council members sit in on professional development meetings.
  • Find the top things students are interested in, start implementing a few of these things in your curriculum.
  • Have students learn along side educators in professional development meetings such as learning new tools or strategies can help students be leaders in the classroom by already knowing how to use tools and have seen these strategies before.

Original Post:

Professional development has been top-down instruction, forever.  What if we gave the power of professional development to our students.  Have students teaching teachers in what they are passionate about so they can include it in the curriculum.  If we had professional development on using games in the classroom, coding, drones, or something that the students are interested in a session to improve their instruction as teachers.

We have been plagued with education not being real-world or personalized enough or engaging.  If we gave students the opportunity to share with teachers and administrators what they want to do, it opens avenues for after school programs and serious learning in the classroom.

Last week we have been playing around with a 50$ drone learning to program on the iPad and how to make it fly.  Students have been so engaged in the lessons it has opened different avenues of what they thought they liked.  We spent a couple of days working on the project and it came to my attention that most of the students didn't think coding was a job that was available to them.

Having professional development tailored by students for teachers can get teachers more involved in students lives and provide real-world applications of education that they are passionate about.

Evaluation results

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Dessie Olson

Trever, I'm so glad I ran across your idea because it reminds me how important student voice is to our professional growth.  As teachers, reflection is a critical part of our growth, but I wonder how often we get authentic student feedback about our practice.  Last year when I was facilitating a professional development for social studies teachers, we unintentionally got to hear from a student about the strategies we were exploring, and it was powerful.   I held the PD event in a library after school at one of our high schools.  Once I began the PD, a student wandered over and sarcastically asked what we were doing, then sat down and said he wanted to participate after I told him we were going to be learning about reading strategies.  I told him it would be great if he joined us, thinking he would leave in a few minutes after he got bored.  He ended up staying for one and half hours of the two hour workshop, and actually raised his hand to apologize for having to leave so he could catch the city bus home.   It was such a gift to have him at our PD because he lent his perspective to what we were learning in our PD, which I've never thought to intentionally include before (outside of a quote or two from students included in a PowerPoint). His insight provided us useful feedback as we were exploring ways to help students access complex text and develop social studies literacy habits of mind.  What was incredible is that it felt like we broke a barrier with this student as we continued to ask him about his thoughts on the strategies we were learning and as he participated as an equal in our PD - we were all learners.  We all sincerely were interested in his perspective and what works with students.  This experience made me realize how valuable student voice is to our professional growth.   Your post reminded me to be more intentional in including students in our professional development, so we can all benefit.  I think you're right when you suggest it will help students become leaders in the classroom, and I think it will also facilitate students to be more metacognitive about their learning and how to problem solve.  Thanks for a great post!

Photo of Trever Reeh

This is amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

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