Next Steps: How do we support effective Professional Development?
As I reflect on this journey, I have found that I like to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I see my students in my classroom as global citizens whose futures are still to be determined. I see myself as a member of many communities. I am part of my 4th-grade PLC, the 4th-grade CoP, and a Napa Valley Unified School District teacher. Ideally, each of these groups should reinforce and support the other. I have learned the benefits of social interaction to drive adult learning (andragogy).
It is my recommendation to plan professional development utilizing a professional development curriculum that uses a spiral design. Professional Development objectives and dates of all professional development for the school year need to be set out on a calendar before the school year begins. Integrating the professional development to reinforce the Workshop Model, the Communities of Practice Grade-Level Model, and the Professional Learning Community to promote collective teacher efficacy.
For example, having a Workshop e-Learning Lab would be a great way to begin the school year. Topics that help teachers set up their classrooms, pacing, content curriculum, assessments, and record-keeping would be a few options that teachers would find helpful.
Requiring a Grade-Level Community of Practice meeting each trimester which ideally could replace one PLC, would be an excellent way to follow up the workshop and bring grade level teachers together to share resources while focusing on the given trimester's priorities. The Community of Practice could spotlight a teacher to inspire others in the community. Showcasing a video of the spotlight teacher in the classroom modeling a lesson would provide scaffolding for the teachers in that community.
We could expand the PLC model to create a PLC that included two school sites, expanding the number of teachers in the PLC while also creating more opportunities for collaboration to create cohesion between schools. Combo teachers would benefit from connecting with other combo teachers to support their unique challenges. Using the PLC "buddy" format would also smooth out turn-over issues.
I recommend a final workshop e-learning lab to be added to the end of the school year to include all things about wrapping up the school year --from cleaning up emails to organizing google drive to archiving google classrooms.
I intend to fine-tune the administration of Professional Development, to impact both teachers and students positively. Through the promotion of interprofessionalism, it is my goal is to make Professional Development aid teachers in the following areas:
To quote Sir Ken Robinson, “For most of us, the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail. It’s just the opposite: we aim too low and succeed.”
In her book, “The Flat World and Education, “ Linda Darling-Hammond noted that we are in a unique position to re-think education from the ground up. It is time to roll up our sleeves and get started. Children depend on us.
I have promised to share my findings with all the individuals in my study, including my principal and colleagues. I have so many people to thank for contributing to my research. Through their generosity, expertise, and professionalism, they have earned my respect for their inherent value, integrity, and individual dignity. I am forever grateful.
As I go forward, I plan to make my research available to those interested and to be of service to my colleagues as we begin the task of refining our professional development delivery. Are you ready to join the team to build a new vision of education? Check out my “About the Author” page to contact me.
Thank you for the support of Napa Learns and Touro Graduate School of Education who made my growth in education possible!
Napa Learns is a non-profit dedicated to equipping Napa County educators with the skills to maximize their effectiveness in the classroom.
Thank you to executive director Peg Maddocks and her team for providing the means for me to pursue my goal of lifelong learning.
Click on the logo to link to their website.