Friday, May 14, 2010

Professional Development in the 21st Century

Today in our district, staff were asked to submit proposals for their professional development next year. We are entering the 4th year of using the Communities of Practice model.
Meeting in August, November and April, teams of 4+ teachers will use the process of social learning to answer an important question and apply it to their classroom/professional practice, enhance leadership through collaboration, use data to impact instruction with the goal of measurably impacting student success.

Yesterday via Twitter, Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, co-founder of Powerful Learning Practice, asked this question of her PLN:

Many people responded, and I aggregated those responses into the Wordle below.
I was happy to see that many of the phrases and words mentioned match what we are trying to do in our district. Empowering, self-constructed, collaborative, connective, job-embedded, using data all match what we are doing. Still, I'm left with some tough questions.
Does our plan appear to be ubiquitous, blended and truly on-going? If we somehow built in time each month or added an online component would we be more effective? What could we take off the teacher "plate" to make that happen? Is the school year calendar a "sacred cow" that gets in the way of some of this happening? Would teachers in my district agree with this list? How can the different communities of practice best share what they have learned with one another?

Do these phrases match the professional development you are seeing in your school or district? Do these terms describe your own vision of professional development?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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