Friday, June 4, 2010

Counting 1, 2, 3 on Your Next PD!

Professional development is a core component in any implementation at a district, school or even departmental level.  As an instructor, you may be considering new ways to look at your PD offerings to keep them fresh and keep your learners motivated.  There are three questions you can ask yourself as an instructor to achieve those goals:

1.  Is it Simple and Relevant?
It's easy to plan a long workshop full of lots of information, but if you don't plan it in a manner best suited for the learners, they will not get what they need out of it.  Because teachers typically are on time constraints, keep the time short, keep the information organized and share exactly what is needed.  If they know exactly what they're going to learn up front and that specific list is followed they'll leave with a smile on their face at the end.

2.  Is it Hands on?
While many workshops don't necessarily require a hands-on approach, there are still some activities you can do to get the feel of hands on.  Whether it be actively engaging in conversation about a topic, working with a partner to solve a problem, moving around the room to get in groups, etc.  So, even if you don't have work to do at a computer or on a project, you can create other activities that give the feel of doing something more engaging.

3.  Can they Refresh Their Learning?
When the workshop is over and the participants go home, they may slowly forget what they have learned in your workshop until they actually have a moment to use it in their classroom.  Then, many times, they may realize they forgot everything they learned and end up not using the material.  To help with this, provide something for them to refer to so they can remember what they learned while they were with you.  This may be in the form of a handout or a website.  The entire workshop doesn't have to be included, but a few helpers or tips about that topic can go a long way.

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