professional development

What is the Foundation of Effective Professional Development?

effective professional development

[Infographic Text]

What is the Foundation of Effective PD?

Three Research-Based Characteristics of Results-Oriented Professional Development for Educators

  1. PD FORMAT: PD Facilitation, Form and Style
  2. PD CONTINUITY: PD Length and Recurrence
  3. PD PLANNING: PD Design
Similar to the needs of our students, we should give our teachers time to work with new ideas in a way that will benefit them. Some teachers will have more or less experience with a topic or learn with different modalities.

Professional Development Format

Active Learning: Just like best practices for instruction, professional learning should be hands-on and engage participants in relevant scenarios and opportunities to apply their learning throughout.

Collaboration: Professional development should be collaborative. Every participant has unique experiences and background; allow participants to learn from one another, share best practices, and build community and shared buy-in for the learning.

Modelling: Provide in-depth examples and resources for the learning. With sample work, participants contextualize the information and have exemplary resources to refer back to after the session ends (Source: Learning Policy Institute).

When PD takes a lecture style, only 10% of participants can apply their learning to their practice. Whereas, with contextualized PD that offers active learning, collaboration, and modelling, application increases to 95% (Source: Center for Public Education).

Professional Development Continuity

Time Required for Mastery (Source: Center for Public Information):
  • 50-80 Hours of Practice for a New Strategy
  • 20 Instances of Practice for a New Skill

CoachingInstructional coaching increases the opportunity for practice and time to revisit skills and strategies regularly. Coaching allows for one-on-one collaborative learning, personalizes learning for teachers, and invests teachers within the professional development of their colleagues. Moreover, coaching addresses the major barriers to effective professional development (Source: Learning Policy Institute).

Meetings & PLC’s: With regularly scheduled school meetings, the burden of repetition of PD material is easily addressed. Schools turn to staff meeting and PLC’s as opportunities to revisit strategies and skills, while also fostering collaboration, ownership, and shared buy-in.

Professional Development Documentation

Professional development requires holistic and intentional planning, as it often spans the course of the year with various professional learning days, meetings, and PLC’s. Reflection, alteration, notes, follow-up, and resources all belabor the intricate and involved planning process.

Moreover, by documenting professional development and the scope of meetings and work throughout the school year, leaders centralize resources, promote best practice, and enhance transparency.

The connection among professional development planning that is shared, implementation that is customized, and follow-up that is ongoing and tightly linked to supervision and evaluation allows for a robust trajectory of individual growth and district progress.

Dr. Judy Bulazo and Dr. Tim Wagner, Director of K-12 Curriculum & Professional Development and High School Principal, Upper St. Clair School District

Effective Professional Development is:

  • Hands-On and Authentic
  • Continuous
  • Intentionally Planned

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