I, David Martin, am currently running for Local’s PD chair. I have been asked questions about my philosophy around PD, my goals of PD, and other various questions. Here is a simple FAQ about my ideas around PD.
1) What is your philosophy around PD?
I believe we should be focusing on teacher learning and not about teacher professional development. Some teachers may only associate PD days with the term professional development, and therefore actually believe PD is an event, a workshop, or a program, rather than an ongoing daily part of a job. How then do we make deeper daily learning a reality for teachers? Replacing the concept of professional development with professional learning is a good start; understanding that professional learning “in context” is the only learning that changes classroom instruction is a second step. Also, recent research shows that traditional methods of presenting classroom innovations to teachers in workshops does not generally result in either changed classroom practice or improved student learning.
2) How do you plan to implement PD in the local?
The planners of PD need to avoid the “one size fits all” approach and remember different educators have different expectations. Mandated PD in top-down programs sometimes does not recognize the differences required by the teachers it is mandated to and thus can destroy the teachers “will to learn”. Andy Hargreaves said, “Most teacher development initiatives, even the most innovative ones, neglect the emotion of teaching.” We need to understand that classroom practices will improve, assessment will change, and more learning will occur if we motivate instead of mandate.
3) What does PD look like?
I believe that true professional learning could range from formal credentialed post-graduate courses to simply having a conversation with a colleague over a beverage. Teachers, myself included, have learned many innovated educational ideas solely from “googling”. Recently, I read: “Guest speakers with PowerPoint presentations are the norm and informal learning time is viewed with suspicion. Administrators with board or school improvement plans to implement may insist that PD opportunities meet the latest “edu-babble” criteria;”
My response: If professional learning is truly personal then it cannot be mandated to anyone by anyone. I will encourage that PD stays in the hands of the teachers.
Vote Dave Martin for PD chair!