Give Teachers Control Over Their Learning!

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Professional development involves varied opportunities for learning new and innovative strategies to enhance teachers’ growth and performance in the classroom. It is about finding new ways to help us perform our work with efficiency and productivity. It engages teachers in powerful professional learning to enhance understanding of mandates and initiatives. It provides opportunities for designing curriculum and assessments that promote learning and achievement for all our students. It is about ongoing learning and improvement. Above all, professional development inspires collaboration and the sharing of ideas among teachers and administrators.

What is effective professional development?

  •  It is meaningful, practical and builds capacity for all participants.
  •  It is conducive to the learning needs of participants.
  •  It is interactive and engaging.
  •  It promotes the learning of new skills in inspirational ways.
  •  It involves choice for participants in what they are learning.
  •  It positively impacts student learning and achievement.
  •  It is ongoing.

How can school leaders facilitate effective PD?

  • Survey participants to learn about their needs.
  • Give teachers control over their professional learning. Let them learn what is meaningful and important to them.
  • Empower teachers with the knowledge and tools they need to enhance instructional practices and rejuvenate learning.
  • Promote more opportunities for teacher leadership. Allow teacher leaders to lead workshops and presentations for their peers.
  • Provide opportunities for teachers to share concerns, progress, successes, and implications for implementation of change initiatives.
  • If bringing in presenters from outside, make sure you educate them about the culture of your organization and help them ensure that information and materials shared are appropriate.
  • Choose trainers and presenters that are compelling and inspire engagement.

Educational leaders can take a powerful role in designing effective learning opportunities for their teachers. As lead learners, they can inspire ongoing learning and capacity for growth. They can inspire and sustain a culture of learning together and from one another.  As they empower teachers to take control of their learning and development, educational leaders have unparalleled opportunities to promote accountability for change and success in their organizations.

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