Professional development is part of any career field. Learning never stops. In education, the field where learning is paramount, professional development happens, but is it effective? In order for professional development to be effective, the following must be present.
Research-Based Best Practice Strategies
This is a no-brainer. In order to teach someone, you must have information to share. The key to this point is to make sure you’re not just making something up. Make sure the information you are sharing is research-based and is considered a “best practice” in the field. Participants are in your session to learn. Make sure what you give them is valid, reliable, and proven.
During the PD session, make time to help participants apply the information to what they do. Help facilitate their learning in how they will take the information and apply it to their work lives. Give lots of examples of how the information is pertinent to their job performance.
Include activities throughout the session that requires the participants to leave with an action plan. When participants leave your PD, they should have everything in place to quickly implement the new information into their work lives. For instance, if you are training on classroom management, provide activities where teachers put together a class management plan. That way, when they return to their classrooms, they won’t have to take the time to figure out how to take your information and put together a plan… they walk away with a plan and all they will need to do is implement the plan.
Professional development should happen on your campus often. It should be well-planned and easy to implement.
Paula Patterson is a former principal who shares practical points on the principalship.