Monday, October 13, 2008

Does PD= Learning?

@teach42 Sorry, but my response to this tweet is going to be just a few more than 140 characters... I know you want to know how much of pd/learning is self directed. So I found it interesting that so many folks shared high percentages of self directed professional development. I started to wonder if it is because the folks on twitter are innovators ~that we like to experiment and lean things on our own or on our own with others....but then I thought again, I have been to many workshops where the presenter stands before the teachers delivering content from a well crafted script, with little differentiation or understanding of needs of the audience. They have a very well planned professional development workshop, designed to deliver a message that we should learn. Ivlisten as teachers all grumble ...

I wonder @teach42 if the better question to not what kind of PD are you involved with, but what you learn best from...AND WHY!!!!!

If we asked these questions about professional development...what motivates us to learn....if it was infused into our professional LEARNING practice, perhaps it would filter down into instruction as well.

Now I pose my twitter poll...
Is attending a professional development....workshop, conference, fill in the blanks, and learning the same? Go ahead...answer me here...I'll give you >140 characters...thoughts?


  1. I can't wait to read the answers to this. My administrators are breathing down my neck to do more formal workshops.

  2. Great questions! I'm in PD with a Tech role... and it's interesting how people react when I give them time to explore and learn collaboratively. Many ask, "so, if you're done teaching, do we get out early?"

    Also, it's interesting how many conferences (to which I send proposals) set up the sessions for 'stand and deliver.'

    I learn best from collaboration with others, dialogues, and exploration... and that's what I hope to do in PD, if I'm allowed.

  3. I don't think it is the same. When we go to conferences, our interest might be piqued, but it is the searching for more information later or connecting with others where the learning actually occurs. If people don't use that opportunity, are they just different learners? What would motivate them?

  4. Great point Louise...
    But if interest isn't piqued during the formalized opportunity...if the way the content is delivered turns the learner off, will the learning follow? Same question about schools then? Could certain types of content "delivery" turn kids off from learning?

  5. Our workshops are not mandatory (and therefore sparsely attended, but I try to offer as many as I can. I find that my most popular offerings are "Wired Wednesday" brownbags where people share what they are doing in their classroom. I think this sparks more interest and then I try to follow-up with a workshop.
    We also tried a new strategy where if three people want the same topic we do a mini workshop - like one-on-one but more productive.
    I'm hoping to have these take off more next semester, but we'll see..

  6. Just because you attend a PD doesn't mean you are learning. I find I learn more from collegial conversation and time to work with my peers instead of sitting in a room listening to people talk about what we/you should be doing. I prefer time to do and explore, I don't think we gear our PD around actual implementation of information, be it technology or not.

  7. Bethany-
    We have a similar problem with workshops...I like your wired Wednesday and Birds of a feather idea. What about finding one person who wants to learn something and planning time with them and offering it out to the group. More structure than Wired your mini workshop birds of a feather...I still don't have the answer
    I couldn't agree more. I think for me the things I learn the most from at any PD, workshop or conference is the unstructured sharing time.

  8. Group PD by its very nature tends 2 generalize rather than specify, 2 make people passive receptors- rly opposite of learning

  9. A major piece of research has been undertaken by researchers in New Zealand, based around the effectiveness of Teacher Professional Learning and Development. Excelelnt info - a long document, but you can always ready the chapters summaries. Download it from

    I think it is the best around. Next year I plan to base all my course evaluations around their model, to ensure the work I do is highly effective.