Not enough professional developers use new cognitive knowledge to lead their preparation and work with educators. Instead it's mostly one-size-fits-all presentations with little depth, breadth or reach.
With this in mind, I recommend that professional developers ask themselves the following questions before planning learning efforts for educators.
- What do I know about the teachers I'll present to with regard to their level of knowledge related to the area I'll be presenting, their level of interest and how this knowledge might positively impact their future teaching and learning.
- How many educators will be in the room? How much time will I have?
- What do I hope the take-away will be?
- How can I differentiate the learning so that educators have some choice, voice and leadership over the content I'll present?
- How can I make this a blended experience that will support depth with this learning? Did I create a website, online discussion thread and/or opportunity to connect with the learning prior to, during and after the presentation/learning experience?
- What can educators take away and embed into their practice right away to make a positive difference?
Too often professional developers don't ask the questions above and instead talk at educators rather than work with them. This is very discouraging for teachers who have limited time and a host of questions and investigations they are currently involved in to better their teaching.
Further as education leaders think about the year ahead, they need to think carefully about educator time. It's important that leaders safeguard educator time so that we have the time we need to teach well and develop our craft in ways that matter rather than sitting through dull presentations that offer little value.