Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Inspiring Great Instruction

When it comes to planning professional development I am a snob. The goal of professional development (PD) is to improve teaching practice. What do we want teaching to look like in our district and model your PD to support this.  Simple, but incredibly difficult.

Get Rid of the Excuse!

There are always excuses for standing in front of the room and droning on.  I had to tell them something real quickly, I needed to give directions, I needed to make sure everybody was on the same page, this is something really difficult and so I had to get them all together and walk them through it slowly.  Pretty soon, everything can fall into that category and you are a sage on the stage, boring the crap out of your students.  And we wonder why they are disinterested in the material.

To make great teaching the norm, then it should be the norm for PD

With PD, there are always excuses for standing and preaching.  It is new information, adults are different than students, this is a special case, that is the way that I instruct best.  Regardless, you are perpetuating that idea that it is OK to do this.  It is OK to bore people just so you can get your point across.  It is PD on how you would like instruction to be, modelling the instruction that you would not like to see anymore.  If we are going to move our school or district culture away from the teacher in front of the room, then we should never give an excuse or teach with this model again.  If it is what is best for learning, then it is the way that we should teach.

So What Does this Mean?

If you would like to see

  • dynamic classrooms, then make your PD dynamic.
  • interactive classrooms, then make your PD interactive.
  • collaborative classrooms...
Do you see the pattern?  I am sick of seeing PD on differentiation that is not differentiated.

This is important for several reasons.  One, it promotes the type of culture and teaching that you wish to see in a school or district.  To make great teaching the norm, then it should be the norm for PD.  If we are told, then we rarely remember, but if we are involved, then we are engaged and we apply.  Two, as an administrator or leader of PD you may no longer be in the classroom and this will give you a sense of just how amazing your teachers are and exactly what you are expecting them to do.  Are you pushing too much on them?  Keep connected with your teachers and understand the pitfalls that they have.  Your empathy will make you a better leader.  Three, it takes preparation for you to teach like this.  Let your teachers know that you are invested in what they do and that their teaching and methods are worth your time to learn and apply, not just evaluate.

Let your teachers know that you are invested in what they do

No comments:

Post a Comment