Let’s Talk Through this Professional Development Problem Right Now…

What makes professional development meaningful? From a teachers’ point of view? From an administrator’s point of view? From a consultant’s point of view?

We all know that being a life-long learner is imperative if we want to continue to grow in any area of life.  Spiritually, professionally and personally. In fact, in Brendan Burchard’s research of the top 2% of performers in the world, one of the habits that they all share is that they carve out time in their busy days to learn. This is really mind-blowing to me, because I have to admit that although I love to learn, and I can have the best of intentions, this is often the item that’s at the bottom of my list- and that I usually don’t get to. I know I felt like this when I was in the classroom also. There were so many other immediate things on my list to do, that taking the time to learn, read or do PD often felt like “one more thing” to do, instead of a necessary step to being a more effective teacher.

So now I’m on the other side, providing the PD – and I am a firm believer that I don’t want any time spent with me to be a check mark on a “to do” list, or a waste of time (because if it wasn’t meaningful to you, that means it was a waste of time for me too -and I hate wasting time). And honestly, from the feedback and results we get, I think we do a pretty good job of making every minute count – whether it be in the trainings or coaching.

But here we are – now in the midst of the unknown of COVID-19.  We have new and unknown problems that we will face, we have unknown delivery methods, and we have unknown timelines.  But we need support more than ever.  So here comes the balancing act…making sure that our PD – although now virtual in an effort to reach more people easily and conveniently – still makes every minute count.  So that’s what we are setting out to do.

Here are our basic principles of PD.  Every professional development should:

  1. Participant focused – easy to digest, relevant to teacher needs
  2. Inspiring – the goal should be to empower, not instruct.  Teachers are bright, and the experts in their fields.  They don’t need to be told what to do.  They need to be inspired and then given the tools to make their own decisions
  3. Ongoing – we know that the human brain retains about 10% of what it hears in a 1-day training.  Because of this, we need a lot of processing time within that day, conversation starters, and ongoing support to help make real-time connections throughout the implementation piece.
  4. Relationshipbased – I want to get to know the teachers we get to work with.  That’s why we have integrated the virtual small-group coaching sessions. We want to be accessible. 
  5. Results driven – bottom line. we want your students scoring higher.  We definitely believe that test scores are not the “end-all-be-all”, but we do know that higher test scores are the result of higher achievement, better literacy, more cognitive engagement, and equity in instruction. We also know it’s a journey to move students into success, and we have laid out the steps to take on that journey so that you can lead your kids into being independent learners.

We are striving to do this in our virtual package, but as we are putting the final touches on everything we want your input!

What is important to you in as you go on your learning journey?

What will it take in this virtual era of professional development for the learning to be impactful?

Email us at info@pressing-onward.org with your thoughts, or comment on the social media platform where you are reading this blog.  We want to know, and we appreciate your input!

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Twitter: @onwardpressing

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