Professional Development In Education: What's Your Ideal?

This post will be used in a graduate level class I am teaching focused on 21st century learning tools. If interested, please use the comment feature below this post to answer the following knowing that what you write may be used in this class. Thanks in advance to all contributors

* As a teacher, what is your actual experience in the area of Professional Development?
* What is your ideal? What do you seek from Professional Development?
* How can/might Web 2.0 tools assist in this process?

Views: 25

Tags: development, education, professional

Comment by David Wees on December 6, 2008 at 12:54pm
As a teacher, what is your actual experience in the area of Professional Development?

So far every year of my career I have been to "forced" professional development, which almost ends up feeling like an attempt by management to brainwash me into accepting some "new" pedagogical technique. I almost always tune out a fair bit during these sessions, and have found it frustrating that I lack as much choice as I should have as a professional. What other profession lets so much of their professional development be dictated to them?

What is your ideal? What do you seek from Professional Development?

Well on the other hand, I have been to really valuable PD a few times. It has almost always been teacher-driven and I've had choice about which workshop or presentation I attended. So what do I seek now from PD? First, I want choice in my PD, to be in charge of my own learning. Second, I want my PD to be authentic and from people who have actually tried what they are preaching. Third, I want my PD to be relevant to my profession in some meaningful way.

How can/might Web 2.0 tools assist in this process?

My first thought here is that Web 2.0 tools could help a lot with choice. Host PD online, and geography stops becoming a barrier to finding really good, relevant PD. You can have a workshop on almost anything, and find 20 educators from somewhere that want to attend your online session. I also think that this would allow for PD sessions to be archived and viewed later, so that the same workshop could be done over and over again, by different groups of people.
Comment by Mike Crosby on December 25, 2008 at 11:56pm
As a psychologist from New Zealand, and having working for the Ministry of Education there, I am keen to hear what educationalists in other parts of the world have to say about P.D. How do they define it? What is their experience of it? What would they like it to be.?

This forum looks like a great place for me to be part of. Hopefully I will learn a lot from others. I would like to think they through dialogue they may learn somrthing from me.
Comment by Andrew on December 26, 2008 at 6:25am
Glad to have you here, Mike. I look forward to your and others' contributions.
Comment by Mike Crosby on December 28, 2008 at 6:25pm
Thanks for the response Karen

Your points are very much in tune with my own on this matter.

I am currently in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi to be exact, planning and delivering PD to teachers in a reform process. Despite my personal believes on PD I find I am part of a group, 'doing unto others, as I wish not to be done to me'. Thankfully we have changed out plan of attack for the next semester and have adopted an approach with looks to give the teachers a far greater say in what they do and how to do it.

From the point of view of someone now charged with delivering PD [That's what I am being paid to do and how the education authority that pays me will measure my performance.] I am looking at how one monitors the many choices these teachers will make in what they choose to do and then find ways of capturing that in some form of record so we can track inputs and outputs in educationally relevant ways.

I am:
Encouraging, facilitating, scheduling time for teachers to observe each other, talk to each other and help each other.
Getting teachers to choose a topic of their choice to talk on briefly in team meetings

On the other hand, as an educator I am looking at ways my employer can provide PD for me and 100 other advisors here in the United Arab Emirates, far away from our base in New Zealand. I am looking at both sides of the coin.

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