We focus so much on the best and most effective ways to teach our children, but often times we forget that adults need relevant and relatable learning opportunities that strengthen professional growth in order to push out effective teaching. Current day professional development is known for its sit and git, presenter centered, unsupportive content sessions where teachers are left deflated and confused. When one mentions professional development to an educator you can see and feel the resentment almost instantaneously. Professional development has lived a long life with a bad rep but if we can change the way this is done and make it more meaningful and relatable to our teachers there’s grit and growth waiting to be uncovered.
If we strip professional development down to the bare bones we find really good strategies that are just presented in a not so good way. Gulamhussein (2013) reminds us that in order for professional development to make the shift to professional learning, it must include 5 key principles. Ongoing support, duration, deferientation and modeling with active engagement are the supporting posts to professional learning that our teachers need in order to reap the benefits personally and professionally.
I will be starting the 2021-2022 year off with a Call to Action and Professional Learning for ePortfolio Implementation using the 5 Principles mentioned above. It is my plan to have all students in 2 grade levels using ePortfolios in the classroom by the end of the 2021-2022 school year, all students on my campus by the end of 2024 school year and district wide by 2025. Big plans to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time, but I believe with a refined approach to professional development my fellow teachers will feel motivated and supported enough to jump on board.
5 Key Principles of Effective Professional Learning
1. Duration with ongoing support.
Our campus has built in one day each week to be used specifically for supporting our teachers with implementation of a variety of concepts. Each teacher may not need the same support so it has been left with a large amount of flexibility in terms of who’s meeting with whom and what they are covering. For ePortfolio implementation, I will be available every Monday during our scheduled support time as well as every Thursday after school hours over the span of 8 months. For the following school year it is during this time that we will focus on the implementation timeline they have set for themselves and collaborate with others .
2. Support during implementation.
During the first week of reporting back on duty our teachers will participate in small breakout sessions for ePortfolios where they will have the opportunity to work with other teachers and practice working through their implementation plans and ePortfolio creations. This allows all teachers to receive relevant feedback from peers that are on the same level of implementation. After school is back in session, teachers will utilize common conference times and district campus days to discuss, reflect and plan for upcoming lessons.
3. Active engagement
If we are trying to revamp a stagnant professional development, we need to focus on teacher engagement and relatability. Upon completion of ePortfolio Professional Learning, teachers will have moved through exploration, designing, and collaboration activities that are all learner centered. Teachers will be up and moving through the phases that are relevant to their needs and level of comfort with technology and site design.
For many teachers modeling of lesson for implementation with be key to their buy-in. Each learning session will begin or end with a modeled approach to the day’s concept on creating/implementing ePortfolios in our classrooms.
5. Differentiation for Relevancy
The learning sessions that each teacher will move through will have a variety of skill levels to to choose from. My goal for this is to meet each teacher where they’re at in terms of comfort levels with technology. The material that is used for implementation of ePortfolios will vary based on grade level and classroom/student needs.
If we want the ePortfolio Implementation to be success, we must proved teachers with the proper training that is unlike ones we’ve all experienced before. The main focus for my plan is to make certain the the duration is acceptable, we are flexible and support is ongoing all year. This allows for deeper comprehension and the flexibility helps make sure we are able to keep it relevant to our teachers needs and their students. In the span of 8 months of participating in our Implementation Professional Learning linked here and above, teachers will explore other portfolios, create their own, set goals for personal and professional use, and make ongoing plans to implement in their own classroom.
Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/system/files/2013-176_ProfessionalDevelopment.pdf