Friday, September 17, 2010
Pilot Choice-Based Professional Development
Recently the faculty looked at plans for growth and professional development from a multi-modal and differentiated perspective. As research about student learning shows, students learn and grow more when they have choices and a “voice” in their learning. In my experiences, adult learners also learn and grow more when they also have choices and a voice in their learning and development. As readers of the blog know, I consider myself (and all administrators) in a position to coach, guide, and mentor the professionals in our schools! It is incumbent upon we leaders to support, nurture, guide and grow the teachers and teacher leaders in our schools. My two cents worth regarding choice based adult growth has a few options. One involves learning through technology and another involves learning through analytical study with interviews and observations and coaching
From my extensive PLN (examples shared through Twitter posting) I have been exposed to countless applications and web-based offerings that teachers can use to impact student learning directly. One example that I am beginning to work with is Edmodo. Through a “facebook” like interface, with a “moodle” like infrastructure, Edmodo is my first effort at engaged, collaborative, “high tech” learning at my school. My aim is to identify 3-5 Web 2.0 instructional tools this year to interested teachers through the voluntary/pilot Edmodo project. The first of these modules will be about using Voice Thread for educators. I will report back via the blog about successes, challenges, and “take-aways” from this experience. So far, there are several teachers who have voluntarily signed up for this pilot learning-by-choice professional development initiative. Teachers can sign up at any time and they can engage in any, all, or none of these modules throughout the school year.
Another option for growth and coaching involves a teacher going through a structured interview with me; an interview typically used for selection, but in this professional development concept, one used for development. After the interview, the teacher will be observed by me, not for evaluation, but for development purposes. Among the topics in the post-interview and post-observation conferences will relate to the themes of excellence predicted to be observed from the interview, and the themes actually observed during the observations. In addition, a growth plan may be mutually developed by looking, in-depth at the interview “results” and suggestions.
By offering options and providing choice and voice, the staff development has a greater likliehood of becoming job-embedded!