3 Strategies For Maintaining Quality When PD Is ‘In-House’

by Paul Moss, edmerger

Do you know if your staff are getting what you want them to get?

For lots of teachers, professional development has been a large thorn in their side. And there are legitimate reasons for this perception: teachers feel like they are shoved into sessions that aren’t suited to them, and perhaps more importantly, they are not guaranteed to be getting quality whether they want to be there or not.

It is this last point that I am going to suggest a possible solution to.

(Ed note: Interested in expert PD crafted alongside your school and mission? TeachThought Professional Development aims to be exactly that.)

Maintaining Quality When PD Is ‘In-House’

Let’s face it, there aren’t too many schools around who can afford to provide their teachers with out of house/expert deliverers of PD. Typically, the school reaches out to those identified as being strong in a particular area, and also willing to deliver a session.

Of course teachers delivering PD in-house need to be valued and applauded for their bravery and willingness to add to the betterment of the school; it is a large step for many a teacher to take.

However, there is a great risk that despite the good intention, there may be a lack of focus in the alignment of the session to the needs of the school, and consequently, and ironically, the session could end up adding to the negative attitude towards PD.

In considering how difficult it is to recapture motivation to participate enthusiastically in PD once a negative experience is endured, I wonder if it would be in a school’s best interest to quality check the delivery before it is delivered on the day.

Strategies To Improve The Outcomes Of Teacher-Delivered PD

1. Pre-PD

This could be done by having those in the delivery team watch each other in a ‘pre-PD day,’ armed with explicit criteria decided on by the school in terms of moving towards its core foci.

This type of collaboration designed to strengthen each session would not only be a massive benefit to those delivering the sessions, by getting quality feedback from other like minded teachers, but also to those receiving the eventual improved session.

2. Use The Right Technology

Applying technology to the situation can enhance the process even further. Lesson recording platforms such as Iris Connect provide opportunity for quality PD sessions to be preserved for later use. Derventio Education’s School iP allows videos to be embedded on each staff member’s tracking and development plan.

Both platforms open up the availability of personalized PD, and opportunities for staff to practice the skills learned in PD with more frequent feedback on their progress. To me, that seems like it would significantly improve the outcomes of PD, and serve to drive a school’s mission statement.

3. Collaborate Before & After

It may sound a little patronizing to have to ‘check’ what’s being delivered, but actually, most teachers who have taken on the role of delivering PD sessions are aware that it is a different kettle of fish compared to teaching students, and have undoubtedly had very little training on it.

Also, if the team I work with, led by the amazing @nickyhawkins, are an indication of the norm, these teachers tend to be open to feedback, and have a strong desire to improve their practice, especially from those around them with whom they identify as being excellent teachers.

Because it is different, and you don’t get that many bites at the cherry, having a few practice runs in front of peers would dramatically improve the quality of the session.

It would also dramatically improve the perception of PD in your school as teachers begin to benefit from the improvement to the quality of every session delivered, and begin to perceive their professional development not as a mandatory training, but an opportunity to grow.

*previously published at TeachThought.com

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