Scalable professional development initiatives

Weekly ProTips

Professional development can take many forms, each with its own purpose and merit.  When new technology is introduced to teachers, there are ways to make sure that they will want to use it and that they will feel comfortable using it.  They will appreciate in-person training sessions, coaching time, virtual training, and technical support along their journey.

In-Person Training
Teachers are just like any learners: they will learn better by doing and by having someone to guide them in their learning process.  In-person training is a great way to give teachers a subject expert they can learn from, ask questions of, and reach out to when more questions arise.  Whether this trainer is a hired expert or a well-informed peer, teachers will be glad to have someone that they can look to as a guide.
As important as in-person training is, not all training is created equal.  When looking for a trainer to work with your staff, make sure that they build in hands-on work time and have a rigorous, but not jam-packed schedule for working with your teachers. It’s also very important to know the trainer’s credentials and background.  You want to make sure that your teachers are using their time productively and not sleeping through a mind-numbing presentation.  Someone who is a former teacher or who has worked in adult education will be more likely to understand what you and your teachers are looking for.

Virtual Training
Most teachers love to learn; that’s a big part of why they chose their career, so virtual training can be a great option.  A well-made video series or engaging webinar can be a great way to introduce a topic or continue building on a skill that teachers may need.  These pieces of training can also show real-life examples of other teachers using technology in their classrooms, which will help teachers to see how they could also implement their skills to help their students.

In our last professional development post, we discussed how to approach professional development differently through immersion, collaboration, and support.  Support is a critical piece of ensuring that your professional development is successful.  After training, the learning is not over, and teachers will need ongoing support.  This can be the “make or break” time when teachers decide whether to take what they’ve learned and run with it or get frustrated and scrap it.  Having an on-campus subject expert or someone on staff who is trained can be invaluable.  Having access to further virtual training, in-person training, and continued peer encouragement will also go a long way to help teachers implement their new-found knowledge.
For more training ideas and opportunities, visit Promethean’s Professional Development page.

Author: Jessica Wark is a Promethean Education Consultant. Before coming to Promethean, Jessica taught 4th & 2nd grades in Baltimore City, 2nd grade in Minneapolis, and Infants in Minneapolis. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and their dog.