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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Why Professional Development Isn't Working For Teachers

I struck a chord with several colleagues, and other teachers, with my previous post on Why Teachers Aren't Any Good.

Ultimately, it is two things:
  1. Professional Development (PD) that has turned into Systemic Indoctrination.
  2. Teachers who no longer believe they are able to lead themselves or their classrooms without someone telling them what to do, how to do it, when to do it, etc.
So, what is wrong with PD?  Today, I am going to only give the brief answer (after all, you had to read a lot from the previous post).

Professional Development has become like today's classrooms, and I am confused about it all.

In many PD sessions of the past several years, teachers have been told to differentiate, realize that the needs of their students vary, understand student learning styles, and individualize instruction.  We are even mandated to create Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) for "special needs" children.

But, when it comes to PD, teachers' individual needs and learning styles are not taken into consideration.  Professional Development has become a one-size-fits-all, this is what you need this year, likely driven by economics project.  That's why I tune out the second a presenter makes the statement, "Most of you already do much of what we'll discuss today."  That statement is usually made within the first 15 minutes of a presentation, as the presenter reads the faces of the teachers, see the depression set in, attempts to salvage the situation as best they know how.

In an attempt to provide meaningful assistance to teachers, districts that provide system-wide, school-wide, department-wide PD often waste the time of teachers, the money of the tax-payers, and deteriorate the internal motivation of their best teachers. 

As I said, this is the short answer.  Later, I will provide details in how I think PD can change for the betterment of educators.

Thanks for reading.

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous


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