11 November 2008

So, Tell Me What You Want

We've kicked Professional Development around quite a bit here and elsewhere in the Eduverse. "PD" is one of the most dreaded events in any school year---not only do most teachers hate sitting through it, they're not so hot about leading it, either. Ditto for admins. As for me, I've had my own horrendous experiences and I've had a few jewels along the way, too. For those sessions I've been asked to deliver, I would say that my range of experience runs along the same paths. I've gotten significantly better in the last three years, although I still have a lot to learn.

My own improvements have been coupled with higher expectations for others. If I can figure out how to avoid Death by Powerpoint, so can others. If I can find a way to incorporate best practices, other presenters can, too.

I put this out there because an upcoming project of mine means packaging a whole bunch of PD for teachers. So, here's what I need from you:
  • The name(s) of any PD providers who absolutely rocked your socks, and/or
  • A description of what it was about a particular PD session that made it so powerful for you.
If you knew that training was coming, whether you wanted it or not, what would you hope would be the spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down?


Barry Bachenheimer said...

In terms of "good PD", here are two concepts that I have found to work in my district:

1)How would Bruce Springsteen approach a Professional Development Conference? (See post at http://plethoratech.blogspot.com/2007/05/how-would-bruce-springsteen-approach.html )

2) Good PD is about Good Research Questions (see post at http://plethoratech.blogspot.com/2007/11/staff-development-is-about-good.html )

Good Luck!


Hugh O'Donnell said...

If Gayle Elkins is still working, she's my PD role model.

She keeps it coming and keeps participants active. Time flies and you leave with a feeling of having actually gained something instead of having lost gradebook time.

You need more than good speakers. You need good teachers. One of the biggest ironies in PD is that we don't teach teachers like we teach teachers to teach kids.

Roger Sweeny said...

At the risk of being heretical, no amount of exciting presentation and teacher participation is going to save a session if the information is useless. Similarly, a fair amount of poor presentation will be accepted if the information is really helpful.

The biggest problem with PD is what some of our students ask us, "When am I ever going to use this?"

Perhaps the most important thing I've gotten from PD is an appreciation of what my students sometimes go through.

Mike S. said...

An idea that I've been toying around with along with some colleagues on this front is the 'fit' with the local situation on the ground. We know that PD has to be responsive to the audience, but I also thing it goes beyond that... it has to be compatible with the local context.