The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Matthew Miles described professional development as it existed 1995 when he wrote the foreword for Thomas Guskey and Michael Huberman’s book, Professional Development:

"A good deal of what passes for 'professional development' in schools is a joke-one we would laugh at if we were not trying to keep from crying.  It is everything that a learning program shouldn’t be: radically under resourced, brief, not sustained, designed for 'one size fits all,' imposed rather than owned, lacking any intellectual coherence, treated as a special add-on event rather than part of a natural process, and trapped in the constraints of a bureaucratic system we have come to call 'school' (p. vii).

What do you think?  Is Professional Development in 2015 still a joke?

Views: 1462

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Linda,

I agree 100% and really appreciate your insights.  I have also noticed that in higher education settings, teachers often feel that the "generic" concepts of improving teaching and learning do not directly link to their subject discipline concerns.  Because teachers are often feeling overwhelmed with work loads and program specific problems, the relevance or association is nebulous.

Patricia Cranton (2006) stated in her textbook Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning that educator developers in higher education should be encouraging critical reflection in teachers and not just giving out answers.  I agree with Cranton's perspective.    

One person I've come to depend on for useful ideas in higher ed is  Mary Ellen Weiner, who operates the Teaching Professor Blog at FacultyFocus.com.

Her posts are not limited to my teaching area  (nonfiction writing) but I find a great deal of what she says in my area is either directly useful or gets me thinking about something in a new way.

PD is a source of contention at all levels, from Elementary to Secondary to Admin.  I have been present at some that were immensely valuable and impact-full but also, at others that were a complete waste of time.  Most that were educator directed, with relevant tasks, and had a direct impact on classroom, were valuable.  Those that involve some kind of promotional aspect, like telling people what other people are doing or have done are useless.  Educators want to know the how not the what and who.  There are generally at least a few takeaways from most PD but for the most part the practice needs to be refined and improved such that educators go into the event with an expectation of value and not a waste of time.

Yes, educator directed, relevant, and time efficient are very important at all levels of pd. 

Brady, I  attend many online courses and webinars in fields outside education. From what I've seen, your observation about what people want from professional development, regardless of the field, is "the how not the what and the who."

Interesting question. I tend to agree with the camp that questions the format used in most schools today with the one size fits all presentations rather than working on individual's needs for development. That being said, I can understand how hard that is to accomplish. It might be impossible to do but if days could be set aside for teachers in which all the local Intermediate Units would have a ton of great programs in professional development to choose from, then teachers could choose what they needed.

Our district has gone to a break-out format. Sure, we sit for an hour and listen to someone discuss something that could be presented in 10 minutes. After that, we can pick which session fits our needs as an educator. It is the GREATEST! Then, at our following team meeting we discuss what we learned or how we are using it. Imagine that! We go to professional development and develop and grow. 

"Teachers Teaching Teachers:
Professional Development
That Works"

http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin459.shtml

Thoughts?....

PD is often hit or miss. I have gone to great PD where I left excited to put ideas into effect, but I have also attended some PD where they are not saying anything new, or even worse saying things which I think are wrong. At some schools PD is just ticking a box for admin and real change is not expected.

I have worked at some really good international schools that have brought in expensive authors, but they were unaware of our context (wealthy, international students). They spoke about public schools in Australia and how important it was to write the goals of each lesson on the board to motivate students (Our students are already super motivated).

I really like the PTC training, but its super expensive so if the school is not paying, then it is beyond most people's budgets.

When I was a new teacher I used to read books from the ASCD, but now I find that these books are quite elementary and wont really add anything to my teaching. I've been teaching 14 years and 11 years internationally.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for good PD or authors to check out.

Recently I watched a few videos by Alfie Kohn and am trying to make my lessons even more student centered. I don't like everything he talks about, but some of his ideas are good.

Hi Edward

I thought I responded to this a few days after you sent it.  If it happens again and you don't hear from me within 48 hours, please send another message.

I have written some definitions down to be sure we're talking about the same thing.  I read your essential questions and I know what you want to accomplish, but I believe what you want is an enduring understanding (attached paper).

Would it be possible to use memoirs as a pathway to the enduring understanding?  I was looking at types of assessments and it seems like constructed responses would meet your needs.  That way, the memoir also serves as the assessment.

Their memoir is the assessment.  The student using their memoir could assess Used/Bent/Broken conventions with a rubric.  If they don't believe they have bent/broken a convention, have them deliberately break or bend one in one part of their memoir.  Don't break it on purpose when writing.  Pull it out of the memoir and show what it would look at when broken/bent (assessment).   

Your students do have memoirs.  I would try to frame memoirs with children's books.  "The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss could make that point.  They have “lived” experiences. "Oh, the places I've been!"  I am not encouraging them to write a look-a-like Seuss, that's just so they can see they do have stories to tell. 

I have more information, but I would like to use my e-mail directly, andrea.ray@netzero.com.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Andrea

Hi Edward

I thought I responded to this a few days after you sent it.  If it happens again and you don't hear from me within 48 hours, please send another message.

I have written some definitions down to be sure we're talking about the same thing.  I read your essential questions and I know what you want to accomplish, but I believe what you want is an enduring understanding (attached paper).

Would it be possible to use memoirs as a pathway to the enduring understanding?  I was looking at types of assessments and it seems like constructed responses would meet your needs.  That way, the memoir also serves as the assessment.

Their memoir is the assessment.  The student using their memoir could assess Used/Bent/Broken conventions with a rubric.  If they don't believe they have bent/broken a convention, have them deliberately break or bend one in one part of their memoir.  Don't break it on purpose when writing.  Pull it out of the memoir and show what it would look at when broken/bent (assessment).   

Your students do have memoirs.  I would try to frame memoirs with children's books.  "The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss could make that point.  They have “lived” experiences. "Oh, the places I've been!"  I am not encouraging them to write a look-a-like Seuss, that's just so they can see they do have stories to tell. 

I have more information, but I would like to use my e-mail directly, andrea.ray@netzero.com.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Andrea

Attachments:

Thanks Andrea. I just sent you an email.

Lots of great ideas.

I think I have learned most from my co-teachers at previous schools. I was working at a stellar international school in Singapore. I am currently teaching in Tokyo, but I would have to say I am not learning much from my co-teachers here; they are really all about keeping the status quo. Their mantra is "But this is how its always been".

I stumbled upon Alfie Kohn lately and I want to make my HS Literature class even more student-centered (perhaps radically student-centered).

Do you have any suggestions for resources on how to pump up some student-centered learning in a HS classroom?

RSS

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Christine Hinkley posted events
22 hours ago
Syed Salman Jaffery and Vanessa Herbert are now friends
Thursday
David Maple posted a blog post

How to Сome Up With the Perfect Topic for Your Assignment

Modern technology and the expansion of communication shaped the education system today. Yet there’s a lot this system has to accomplish to meet the standards of modern society. But we can already see positive shifts in many processes of learning. For example, professors do not…See More
Mar 14
Shane Wills posted a blog post

Enduser Support Technician

The Enduser Support Technician provides essential support to computer software development organizations, network systems vendors, software training companies and software and hardware manufacturers. The support technician forms the front line of assistance for customers encountering problems or defects with products and programs.End-user Support Technicians deliver help to system users by responding to client queries, solving technical problems and retaining an organizational network, software…See More
Mar 6
Shane Wills posted a blog post

Hire Freelance Desktop Support Engineer

Every business has to integrate technology and software into their business to some extent. That’s just part of running a modern business. Desktop support engineers make that possible by keeping systems up to date, implementing patches and fixes and dealing with technical problems as they arise. They also continually improve and streamline a company’scomputer network and approach to software.Find a Desktop Support…See More
Mar 5
Linda S. Davis commented on Emily Johnson's blog post Main Rules on Writing Historical Essays
"Thanks for the interesting article. I agree with you, students often do not know not only how to format, but also how to correctly write comparison and contrast essays and other papers, so they need help from those who understand this."
Mar 4
Linda S. Davis posted a blog post

How Easy to Write Comparison and Contrast? (Secrets of Professionals)

Is the student in elementary school or high school; he must know how to write a comparative and contrast essay. Below are some tips from writers of the company "500 WORD ESSAY", in which students can write these essays in an attractive way. These tips can be useful to a first-year student or a graduate student.We are committed to helping the student with writing different…See More
Mar 4
Shane Wills posted a blog post

BICSI Installer

The Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) Installer is accountable for advanced testing and fixing both copper and optical fiber installations. The installer must inspect and evaluate, through the different application of information and communication technology (ICT), cabling installation.It is BICSI installer who comes up with solutions centered on appropriate codes, criteria, along with standard practices for business. They support and are capable of leading an…See More
Mar 1

© 2019   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service