PxPixel
Professional Development Tips - Tech Learning

Professional Development Tips

The best way to help your teachers is to identify what they really need to ensure student success and to improve their teaching practice. How do you do this as a professional developer? Many times we do not have the luxury of time to get to know our teachers. Yet there may be a way we can do this as part of the
Author:
Publish date:

The best way to help your teachers is to identify what they really need to ensure student success and to improve their teaching practice. How do you do this as a professional developer? Many times we do not have the luxury of time to get to know our teachers. Yet there may be a way we can do this as part of the professional development.

Teacher Research

Research can be a valuable component of professional development for teachers to improve their teaching practice. Traditional educational research may not be useful for classroom teachers, but research that helps teachers become better teachers is very useful. You can facilitate this research process:

  • Help your teachers decide on a focus or problem upon which they would like to reflect. It could be their teaching practice or a curriculum area about which they are uncomfortable teaching.
  • Collect evidence over a specified time period. This will help the teachers examine what they are trying to accomplish in their teaching practice. Some evidence could be videos of classroom practice, samples of student work, and interviews with students and colleagues.
  • Analyze the evidence by looking at themes or patterns. One way you could do this is to input evidence into a database with fields for pictures, student work, average test scores, etc.
  • In a document stored in their portfolio record what the teachers found from the evidence with the steps to take for improvement or an explanation why something worked or did not work.

Classroom Observations

To take teacher research a step further, you can use strategies from the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) model. There are times when a teacher believes they are reaching all of their students. In reality, during a classroom observation a mentor or coach sees that several of the students are off-task. New teachers then get support as they examine, reflect on, and improve their teaching practice.

  • Visit their classroom.
  • Record without judging what actually happened in the classroom, using video, digital images, notes, metaphors, or drawings.
  • Share what you found with the teachers and help them reflect on the findings.
  • Use what you found to modify how teachers teach.

Model Lessons

When you work with a teacher in a classroom, you can see how they teach, set up their classroom, and interact with their students. Use some of the following non-threatening strategies with your teachers:

  • Find out what curriculum area or standard they will be teaching in the next few weeks.
  • Create a Website with links to resources that are appropriate for their students and that meet the standards.
  • Develop a presentation that can be shown on the TV hooked to the computer in the teacher’s classroom or on a Website that students can access from any computer.
  • Set up the technology so everything works.
  • Make step-by-step instructions that show how to use and troubleshoot the technology.
  • Show one or two students in the class how to do the lesson and to use the technology so they can help their peers and the teacher.
  • Observe the lesson and provide constructive feedback.
  • Set up an appointment to develop another lesson around the curriculum.

As professional developers, we can facilitate building “Communities of Practice†where teachers help each other, students become mentors, and everyone is sharing and learning from each other.

Email: Barbara Bray

This article first appeared in OnCUE, February 2004 Issue — Vol 26. No. 1

Featured

Related

Professional Development: 21st Century Models

Never before has the pressure been so high to find ways to support successful teaching and learning through effective professional development. With the U.S. education community, driven by No Child Left Behind, focusing on standards, accountability, and pledges to see that every child is taught by a certified and

Data Can Drive Development

Teaching practice can improve if teachers can look at themselves and student data in an objective manner. In most teacher education programs, teachers were not taught to use data to design curriculum and analyze their teaching practices. Teachers need training in both data management and data analysis as well as in

Image placeholder title

Professional Development

The great news on the PD front—at least from the districts who presented at the second School CIO Summit Conference this June—is that we’ve moved far away from the days of drive-by PD in which socalled experts come in once a year to show teachers how to use product X and expect them to begin using it perfectly by the very next day.

Professional Development Goes Green

A professional developer can use this biomonitoring activity to start a series of green workshops. In this collaborative online environment, teachers share data, student conversations, and their own findings and reflections on the process.

Image placeholder title

Professional Development

The great news on the PD front—at least from the districts who presented at the second School CIO Summit Conference this June—is that we’ve moved far away from the days of drive-by PD in which socalled experts come in once a year to show teachers how to use product X and expect them to begin using it perfectly by the very next day.

Embed Technology Use in Content Specific Professional Development

As the emphasis in professional development continues to shift to standards-based instruction and new curricula adoptions, we don't have time to schedule technology in-services. And yet, many teachers on staff still aren't using technology for instruction. What do I do? Just as students don't retain and use learn