The way we ought to rethink professional development

Transparent ball with inscription time to learn in a hand

WEAC Vice President Ron Martin shares this report, which was highlighted this week in the U.S. Education Department’s Teachers Edition newsletter. Martin notes that, while not being critical, when it comes to professional development school districts “are only doing what they have done for a long time and change is not easy.”  The goal, he said, is to get to where educators “act purposefully and constructively to direct their professional growth and contribute to the growth of their colleagues.” 

“The report is well done and has some really good advice for schools,” Martin notes. “This is a great opportunity for the union to collaborate with the administration to improve teacher agency. The Seven Steps Forward is a great tool for district and school leaders to utilize if they are serious about improving education agency in their professional learning systems. In Step 1 they suggest the makeup of professional learning decisions in the district, while it suggests at least 50% teacher representation, I would agree at least 60-75% should be representative of educators.  The steps make sense.”

From the U.S. Department of Education Teachers Edition newsletter:

The cost of professional development for teachers is an estimated $2.6 billion at the federal level and some $8,000 – $12,000 per teacher in districts. Yet for many teachers, professional development has been an “empty exercise in compliance, one that falls short of its objectives and rarely improves professional practice,” writes Laurie Calvert (2010 Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellow) in a new report from Learning Forward and NCTAF. She lays out seven steps district and school leaders can take to improve professional learning, starting with ensuring at least 50 percent teacher representation on planning and implementation teams.

 

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