Tips to get the most out of your PD
In our fast-paced and forever evolving profession, (Moffit, Jayaram and Scott, 2012) acknowledge it has never been more important for teachers and school leaders to continuously develop new skills that are going to positively impact the performance of our current and future students.
With so much going on in our classrooms already, you can be forgiven for sometimes feeling like you are never going to be able to keep up with all of the new policies and educational trends introduced through PD workshops. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and ultimately turning your attention to the clock and praying the session will finish on time, you should make the most of the lifelong learning opportunity by following some of Educator Impact’s PD tips and tricks outlined below.
Your participation will ensure that you, and those around you, remain engaged and focused. Some simple ways to get involved is to share personal experiences that relate to the coursework. Ask the trainer for further clarification to aid understanding, or put your hand up to volunteer when needed.
Reflect and set goals
To ensure completed professional development stays meaningful and relevant, it is important to follow up with reflection and long and short-term goals focused on improving the skill, strategy or theory taught in the session.
When you reflect, ask yourself: What have I learnt? How can I use this to improve my teaching? How can I use the PD to enhance the results of my students? How does a strong teacher in this skill do this?
Take time to connect with a trusted peer or mentor. Tell them what you wish to improve and work through how you will do this in your day-to-day teaching. This will not only show that you are serious about self-improvement, it will keep you accountable for attaining your professional development goals.
Make a plan
Creating a lesson plan that you intend to implement within a fortnight post the PD session is a great way to cement new knowledge and apply it to the classroom. Writing a detailed plan is also a great way to assess how much information you have retained post the PD session and whether or not you need further clarification from a peer or the training facilitator. If you wait too long to implement what you have been taught– let’s be honest–it may never happen! A fortnight post the PD session is an adequate amount of time to test the new theory, skill or strategy.
Invite observation and feedback
Once you have experimented using the content taught in the PD session, you will get great value by inviting a trusted peer or mentor to observe the skill, strategy or theory in action. Encourage your observer to provide feedback as it will help you to identify areas of competency. More importantly, it will help identify areas that have the potential for improvement.
EI for Teachers is an evidence-based program that encourages targeted, individualised professional development following structured peer observation and feedback. It is the perfect tool to compliment any professional development undertaken within the school.
Feedback is the driving force behind professional development in so many industries. Now with the help of Educator Impact it is fast becoming normal practice in the education sector also.
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Moffit, A., Jayaram, K. and Scott, D. (2012). Breaking the habit of ineffective professional development for teachers. Mckinsey On Society.