Varying Approaches to Teacher Professional Development

An article published last year by the folks over at the Stanford d.school walked through the various types of teacher professional development currently available, including a brief overview of each. The author Melissa Pelochino, an experienced educator, goes on to share her thoughts on why these types of professional development aren't working for today's educators, here's an excerpt:
Most teachers participate in all of these types of professional development concurrently. The result is confused, overwhelmed teachers who find it difficult to know what to focus on first and who have a hard time remembering what they are working on and for whom. I have seen many teachers develop “cheat sheets” to help them keep track of all of the professional development they are participating in. Often, the PD calendar is set at the beginning of the year and is not responsive to the immediate and changing needs of the students and staff.
 
PD is still being delivered in a 20th-century lecture style, and most of it looks the same: teachers sitting in rows, staring at computers or cellphones while a person at the front of the room talks at them and refers to a computer screen from time to time...
Pelochino also goes on to share what she identifies as "the main issues facing professional development for teachers", including:
  • Too much information
  • Failing to teach teachers in the ways that we expect them to teach in their classroom
  • One size fits all learning
  • Focusing on the most recent trend in education
She brings up some valid points, and shares her solution: micro content on relevant topics that can be broken down into daily doses that teachers can work towards incorporating into the classroom right away.
 
Atomic Learning has a similar approach to delivering tech-focused professional development, using online 1- to 3-minute video tutorials designed to guide learners through an outcome-based learning model.
 
Interested in trying out Atomic Learning? Request more information on providing access to all teachers, staff, and students at your district. 

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