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How To Create Great PD

Most educators are stretched thin between testing, planning, and building student relationships! On top of all these demands, it’s important that educators are sharp on the latest requirements and new teaching strategies.

Most school sites have robust professional development support for their teachers. But just because these PD sessions are planned and presented, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re effective or that they achieve the desired pedagogical outcome. Research from National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education even indicates that most PD doesn’t change learning outcomes or change teaching practices.

Want to improve your likelihood of successful PD? Try these ideas to lead effective teacher learning:

  • Set goals. What do you want your participants to gain when they finish your session(s)? Start with this end in mind and use that as the basis for planning the PD experience.

  • Think SMART. Your PD should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely.

  • Avoid “one and dones.” One-off workshops are ineffective. Similar to your students, teachers need continual and ongoing support to see meaningful change. Try spreading your PD over multiple sessions throughout the school year.

  • Seek feedback to get better buy-in. We recommend getting actionable feedback from your participants at every stage in the PD. Ask educators what they want to learn in the PD planning process. You can also check in with them during the sessions and request feedback at the end through a survey.

  • Follow up and provide coaching. How do you know if your PD was effective? We encourage you to check in with your participants and provide coaching opportunities through classroom visits and one-on-ones.

Teachers have mixed feelings about professional development. It's likely because PD rarely results in genuine progress or change. With some of these strategies, you can preserve teachers’ time and improve teaching skills, leading to better student learning outcomes.

What are some other things to consider when planning and conducting PD? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.


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