April 2019 #futureofschool Chat Recap: Professional Development for Educators

As digitalization demands new skills from graduates, it is up to educators to keep up with new technologies, topics and teaching methods to be able to adequately prepare their students. Staying current in order to provide a relevant and balanced K-12 education has become more challenging than ever, and schools need to heavily invest in professional development of their staff to ensure they’re able to teach new (and ever evolving) in-demand skills.

“How can teacher professional development efforts shape the future of school?”  

April’s topic arose from a lot of exchanges in our March chat, including this one:

We asked Judy Perez from iLearn Collaborative to help us explore this important topic during our April 2019 #FutureOfSchool Twitter chat. Together with FBOL’s Amy Valentine, Judy lead the hour long conversation with fellow educators, parents and thought leaders.

We discussed the following questions with chat participants to identify and explore the kinds of teacher professional development efforts that succeed, and those that fail, too:  

  • How can schools better support teachers’ professional development efforts?

  • As K-12 educators, have you sought out a mentor at any point in your career and how did it help you?

  • What should training for the future of school ideally do to set teachers up for success?

  • Why do current teacher professional development efforts fall short of their goals?

  • How do you plot a course for your own professional development, including the skills you know you need and those you’ve yet to discover?

  • Knowing that teachers come from al experience levels, how can school leaders best close the gaps?

  • What impact can technology have on delivering meaningful professional development content to teachers?  

Communication and educator engagement was agreed to be an overarching issue with implementing professional development efforts that would result in meaningful change and growth. Participants pointed out that there’s often a disconnect in professional development and what is indeed needed or makes sense in their setting. The majority of chat participants agreed that teachers should be involved in the professional development process. (The conversation even inspired a follow-up blog post by one teacher, who sought to further explore how to close the gaps toward effectively implementing blended learning and personalized learning methods.)

Furthermore, lack of establishing an objective or focus for professional development was also identified as a recurring problem. Acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for students or teachers, participants agreed that an agile multi-faceted approach is needed to close the gap. Peer-to-peer learning, sharing best practices and both onsite and virtual workshops were all determined to be valuable tools in teacher professional development.

Learning together and sometimes even switching roles can also lead to new perspectives and insights to further professional development. When the teacher becomes the student and the student becomes the teacher, it can benefit everyone involved, if done right.  

Together everyone can learn, share and grow!

📌 Join us for the next #futureofschool conversation on May 30, 2019 at 6pm ET, and invite your friends & colleagues to offer their perspectives. And in the meantime, drop us a line and share your K-12 education experience here.

For now, here are some of the highlights from April:


eventLisa Mullis