How would you answer this question? Professional development is
- An opportunity to grow as a professional which is often wasted
- A boring, wasteful chore
- Something over which I have no control
- Engaging content that helps me develop as a professional
Probably too many had a hard time choosing between 1, 2, and 3, right?
Is Professional Development something that just fills in the time between when teachers are doing their real work?
Fred Ende points out, “The only way we can really provide educators with PD that makes a difference is if we remember that, just like our students, every one of our educators in an individual learner.”
Learning, whether by student or teachers, is usually tied to need; learning happens if the material is connected to what the person is doing and the results s/he wants to achieve. Professional Development should be about learning; maybe we need to start creating and delivering Professional Development for Learning (PDL) instead of plain old PD.
PDL causes the learner to take action; to change what s/he has been doing into something that is more likely to provide better results. It starts with planning, then providing, and then follow-up. Planning the content around the purpose (of the institution and also of the learner), Providing in a way that engages the participant, and Follow-up that insures there is reflection, action, and feedback.
These are the elements that Fred Ende details in his ASCD book Professional Development That Sticks. You can have a conversation with Fred while he discusses the principles behind the book in an Edchat Interactive on May 25 at 8:00PM Eastern; register here.
Postscript: As I was looking for images for this blog entry, I used the phrase “Boring PD” and looked for images that allowed re-use. It turns out I mostly got pictures of drills.