Out of every mode of support we pour into students, high-quality instruction has proven to have the greatest impact on their achievement. The buck stops with the teacher (or so we’re frequently told), and that’s why schools and districts have invested almost $18,000 per teacher on training and professional development, mostly in the form of workshops and salaries for support staff. Here’s the problem: a lot of it isn’t working.
- Traditional PD treats teachers as passive learners.-Traditional PD rarely makes room for participants to connect the content to their individual contexts to build understanding, and provides no opportunities for participants to learn skills or strategies by actively trying them out.
- Traditional PD is a mile wide and an inch deep.-Most professional development happens periodically and covers a variety of topics during full or half work days when kids are not at school.
- Traditional PD involves no ongoing support from an instructional expert.-When a workshop ends, support ends with it. That means it isn’t there when teachers need it most — in their classrooms when they’re trying out the new strategy or skill for the first time.
- Traditional PD isn’t tailored to individual problems of practice. When PD isn’t tailored to individual teacher needs, it won’t translate into practice because it doesn’t meet teachers at their developmental readiness levels.
- Traditional PD doesn’t create space for teachers to reflect on their practice.- PD is so often about learning new skills and strategies, reflection is usually limited.
- Traditional PD doesn’t measure its own impact on student learning.-There isn’t much data demonstrating the effect of professional development on student achievement.
Read the full article about flaws in teacher professional development by Katya Rucker at Getting Smart.
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