Step 3.2. Plan the learning activities.
Effective professional development typically includes a variety of opportunities for participants to learn and master new knowledge and skills. In some instances, these activities will include a small group of teachers engaged in reviewing student work or research on new approaches to instruction. Or a group of teachers may be involved in action research to test a new teaching strategy with their students and to report the results to their colleagues. Alternatively, the learning activities may include presentations to large groups of teachers from across the district, followed by break-out sessions to discuss the content of the presentations and to begin relating it to individual classroom situations.
The most effective professional learning activities are those that engage teachers as active learners and problem solvers. These activities are likely to include opportunities for teachers to observe the applications of new skills in the classroom as well as opportunities for them to apply the new knowledge and skills in their own classrooms, ideally with guidance and support from a coach or peer. In addition to including a variety of learning activities, effective professional development extends over relatively long periods of time, ranging from several weeks to several months—perhaps even longer. These extended periods of time afford opportunities to apply new knowledge and skills, to reflect on the initial experiences, and to make adjustments to meet the needs of individual classrooms and individual students.
Use the following menu to describe the learning activities that will be included in the professional development that you are planning: For each activity included in the plan, the following prompt will appear: Briefly describe the activity (e.g., who will lead or facilitate it, how long will it last) and indicate whether all participants are expected to participate in the activity. If participation in any of the activities includes “homework” assignments or the preparation of any products (e.g., instructional materials, improvement plans), describe the product(s) and the kinds of feedback that participants will receive.
Large group presentation
Small group presentation
Observation of participants
Feedback on mastery of new knowledge and skills
Review of student work and planning instructional improvement
Preparation of new instructional materials
Planning Tip 8: Think about group process.
Planning Tip 9: Ensure that everyone gets into the action.
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