SO…as I continue to try my very best to BLOG, it always seems to be the last thing I have time to do! As much as I love to write and reflect on my learning, especially right now as I am in school, it becomes a ‘beating the clock’ game most late nights of just getting my homework in by the stroke of midnight! This is between being a Dean of Students with several roles and responsibilities, on top of being a full-time doctoral student, and of course can’t forget the home life. As I just submitted my homework for this week (That is required to be posted 5 out of the 7 days, on top of pages and pages of research papers pertaining to my dissertation) it made me think about how my boss is always challenging me to post about my learning, as I pursue my doctorate degree. I am currently a doctoral student at Grand Canyon University, and I am learning so much! Though most nights are filled with no sleep and trying to spend hours on my research, I think about how relevant it would be to post what I am studying…and though it is surely life-changing to me, it may be a ‘snooze fest’ in the eyes of others.
This week’s homework sparked my attention to write a blog post surrounding the idea and significance of PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT for teachers. Either way of how educators may feel about having to do so, we should be excited about continuing to learn. After all, we are Triple L’s… LifeLong Learners! As I have always either been apart of the planning or receiving end of PDs, I know for a fact it has to have a direct focus, intention, and take-a-away, or it’s a true bust!
Here is my homework question for this week and my answer to it! How would you answer my first homework question as a deliverer or receiver of PD sessions?
How can professional development most effectively influence and promote positive faculty relations and the building of a community of scholars? What types of professional development might be the most effective and significant?
The best and worst days over the last 10 years as an educator has been surrounded by professional development. Though most teachers dread those 2 words, and rather be grading, lesson planning, and working in their rooms, those PD couple hours, half or full days, can bring a rich culture to your ‘teacher work,’ and continue to grow and nurture us as lifelong learners. Professional development can most effectively influence and promote positive faculty relations and the building of a community of scholars through being the most current/relevant material on the market right now, and have take-a-ways that teachers can leave the PD session, and implement immediately. The sessions should occur during a significant time of the day, with an agenda that is set forth (and sent out) to the team ahead of time. A community of scholars has to know that what they are spending the time on to learn, in person or online, that will have an immediate or near future way to grow them as an educator.
‘PD Days’ are deemed as a huge responsibility to the administration of the institution. It is one of the main goals of administrators to offer significant, purposeful, and intentional professional development to their staff of learners and build a strong community of scholars. When such a community exists, faculty members are more inclined to initiate and continue their involvement from a perspective of intrinsic motivation (Stevenson, Duran, Barrett, & Colanulli, 2005). From this, faculty should be motivated to continue on their community of scholars and work together on their own outside of the PD to find out more on the topic presented. Researchers have also discovered that “Faculty who engage in professional development experiences benefit also in terms of increased vitality, informed pedagogy, teaching innovations, and scholarly teaching” (Randall, 2008, p. 18).
Lastly, the types of professional development that might be the most effective and significant are the ones that are not just a fad; meaning we are spending hours on it today, but you will actually never see the concept or use it again. They are the ones that a community of scholars want to continue to learn about after the session is over; meaning they want to find more websites, books, articles, or blog posts that pertain to the subject matter, to implement into the further development of their personal learning. The most significant and effective best of all is the kind of professional development that our students benefit the most from, and gain a wider knowledge and perspective of their learning process. If the PD does not directly enhance the learning of a student, by way of an educator, it has indeed lost its complete focus and significance.
Thanks for the challenge Chip! I am going to try my best to keep posting/BLOGging as I am learning…
Randall, L. (2008, fall). Rethinking faculty development: Toward sustaining a community of learners. Senate Forum, 24(1).
Stevenson, C. B., Duran, R. L., Barrett, K. A., & Colanulli, G. C. (2005). Fostering faculty collaboration in learning communities: A developmental approach. Innovative Higher Education, 30(1), pp. 23-26.