How much professional development have you done? How many hours? What has been the cost of this to you, to your school, or to your school system?
But how much of it has actually been developing you? A lot of PD hours are spent rolling out new institutional initiatives, dealing with school logistics, or presenting one-time sessions that may or may not be put to use by any given teacher. Teacher professional learning should, however, result in students learning better; students knowing know they can learn and wanting to learn more. Are you getting that result?
Teacher improvement is a very personal and enigmatic concept. One would have thought with all the completed professional learning in literacy and numeracy that teachers have undergone, that student scores on high-stakes testing would be soaring. But they aren’t. So there is clearly something wrong with either the testing or the professional learning teachers do, or more likely, both.
At mme moe, we don’t have an agenda to fix high stakes testing, but we do have a few ideas! We are, however, working to significantly improve focus and access for teachers to the professional learning they need.
Teachers and schools should have clear evidence that all teachers have truly grown as practitioners because of the professional learning they undertake, and that they have a mindset of continuous growth, not just that they attended for the requisite number of hours. Just as attending every day of the Wimbledon tennis tournament does not make you a tennis pro, simply attending professional development does not necessarily get the job done.
Teachers should no longer have to undergo professional development sessions where they all do the same thing. Teachers need to have individualized development goals. If all teachers improved at one small aspect, then the whole teaching project improves a lot, and then is ready for the next round of
‘crowd improvement'. When provided this agency - more ownership over their own development - teachers are more likely to make changes to the classroom practice.
They should be given the tools, the data and the connectivity to drive their own learning. This, of course, is mme moe's purpose.
Paul is the Chief Learning Coach at mme moe. mme moe is the culmination of years of experience and expertise in assisting people to get better at what they do.