Planning Professional Learning

planning for professional learning

Planning effectively for individual, faculty, KLA or school-wide professional learning can be a hot or miss-affair; what you read about by way of advertising and what actually happens and how this relates to student outcomes, professional accountability and your professional practice is not just a matter of budget, individual needs or the provision of CRT staff. How often do you meet the same people at the same conferences? Listen to the same up-beat motivational spins? Choose to learn and research alone on with free-offerings from the Internet?

Professional learning is more often than not a compromise … but it need not be!

Current models of continuing professional development vary from:

  • Training – generally ‘delivered’ to the teacher by an ‘expert’, with the agenda determined by the deliverer, with the participant placed in a passive role
  • Contemporary Model – university delivered or award-bearing courses
  • Conference PL  – attending ‘training events’ and then disseminating the information to colleagues – How cost effective is this model?
  • Standards-based PL – a system of eacher education, that generates validate connections between teacher effectiveness and student learning – the so-called accountability model
  • Coaching/Mentoring – one-to-one relationship, generally between two teachers, designed to support collegial development
  • Communities of Practice – learning within a community of practice as a result of that community and its interactions
  • Action Research PL –  involving the teachers as researchers, with a view to improving the quality of their practice
  • Transformative PL – Balance between teacher-centred and context-specific models

Before you decide on any professional development program either individually or as a staff some key questions should guide your planning:

Is the course that you wish to take procedural or informational?

Is the course focused on individual or collective development?

Is the course a form of accountability?

Will the course support professional independence?

Is the course simply information transmission or will it develop transformative practice?

transformative practice: involves any combination of the above and is at the core of what can be achieved in he classroom. Change – transformative practice – is not a miracle but the rewards for students and teachers alike can be profound and is at the centre of all professional development courses developed through learnink.