Exploring the value of Professional Development
Among the various interesting conversations in our last forum, a question came up related to the need for timely and effective professional development to support differentiated instruction. The participant asks,
“How do you change the culture of the school to embrace a technique that is known to have excellent results without overburdening teachers that are already stretched to the the limit?”
Another participant responds to the question: “So many times teachers are provided professional developments and expected to implement them immediately after 6 hours of instruction – as well as continue to teach everything you already had on your overflowing plate.”
Changing the culture of a school or group requires a “systems thinking” and change theory viewpoint. In our series we examine the research of Donald Ely and Everett Rogers for markers of successful innovations in schools.
Another question surfaces: How can we as professionals make informed decisions to successfully plan and implement effective professional development (PD)?
We have learned that K-12 professional development should be treated as a “process” and not a “product.” Spirrison (2017) asserts, “In this environment, continual and perpetual education is essential.” We hear the latest buzz words in professional development: “Continuous Learning Platforms.” Check out Spirrison’s recent brief article, “Five Reasons Continuous Learning Platforms are the Future of PD” (Participate.com).
“Educators who self-organize on Twitter and other social networks to share knowledge, resources and best practices with peers around the world are pioneers in the continuous learning movement.”
Sources Ely & Rogers on Change Theory
Ely (1990) Conditions of Change: https://sites.google.com/site/elysconditionsofchange/history
Rogers, E.(2001) Diffusion of Innovations: https://www.enablingchange.com.au/Summary_Diffusion_Theory.pdf