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What is the best way for us to grow professionally? I know we all have our own learning styles, and all learn differently. My question is, after we sit in a "one shot" session such as we just did when we had Jim Knight talking to our admin and learning department, what is the best way to ensure we will use that learning? Should we start an open discussion on a blog? Should we start discussion groups in peron? Should we have regular review sessions? What has been the best way for others to ensure that follow up occurs after professional learning?
That makes a lot of sense, Rayleen. I think without the right coaching people fall back into old patterns of what has been done. I also think that if we celebrate the ones who are following the Big Four coaching model, it gives others an idea of how to do it. What do YOU think???
I love the idea of celebrating those who are following the model, but I also agree that it isn't right for everyone. Just like our students, adults need different types of reinforcement to be successful. We need to find a variety of ways to get people on board with anything new. Coaching is certainly an extremely valuable tool in the toolbox. Coaches can be that on the spot PD piece that is often missing after a PD session that leaves teachers feeling lost. A coach can provide immediate and continuous training for those teachers.
I like to follow up those one shot professional development sessions in teacher based team meetings. These meetings give me a chance to get teacher feedback on the PD and discuss how it can impact their classrooms. Depending on the PD, I try to get each teacher to commit to trying one strategy from the PD in the next week. I find that by following up in groups, once one teacher buys in, it makes it easier to get others on board. I make sure I follow up using various ways as to not seem as if I am pressuring anyone. I may ask how it went via an email, in a brief hallway encounter, or in a handwritten note in the teacher's mailbox. Armed with some feedback, we can fruther discuss the results in the next TBT meeting if we feel the need or desire to do so.
I really like the idea of teachers making a commitment to try one thing and sending an email, hallway follow-up as a gentle reminder. Great ideas. Thanks!
The idea of following up the one shot PD sessions with teacher based team meetings is one that interests me. Do you do it immediately after or set up another time? How do you get teachers to attend the team meetings after the fact? We aren't based in a school, we have several schools that we coach at so I'm interested in how to make this work in our situation.
I can see the benefits of doing this after a session and then getting teachers to commit to one strategy. I like that it is a gentle move forward. Thanks!
In our district, we have an hour early release for all students on Tuesdays to accommodate professional development needs and TBT time. Teacher Based Team attendance and participation is required for all teachers in our district.
I service three high schools: the main building which has close to 100 teachers, an alternative school where I service four core subject teachers, and an on-line based credit recovery school which houses about 15 teachers.
The tenth grade teachers at the main high school this year have common planning time during the school day so they may meet as a TBT on a daily basis. Meeting with them allows for me to reach several teachers at once. Since they have the additional pressure of preparing the students for the Ohio Graduation Test, they are quite receptive to trying new strategies.
I try to follow up with the teachers within a week of a professional development session. Needless to say, the tenth grade teachers get the most attention; it’s just easier to access them. I catch the ninth grade teachers on their conference periods. I meet with the alternative school teachers and credit recovery teachers once a week before their school day starts. The most challenging group to access is the eleventh and twelfth grade teachers. With all of the elective courses, I have to usually work with them one-on-one since many of them teach course no one else does.
I have limited my reply to the specific question regarding PD follow up. I must say, that it's been immensely helpful to have the administration support, the time allotted for PD growth, and the teachers organized into groups so that they may work together toward the same goals. Professional developement is only valuable if we put the new knowledge to work and in a timely manner. Walking away from a PD without support is just that: walking away.