Education is constantly changing—from how to engage today's students to updated technology in the classroom, there's always something new to learn. So how can professional learning help keep educators up to speed with all these changes? Flexible, practical professional learning options are easier to manage over traditional, hour-long sessions (or even webinars), so the learning doesn't have to stop when the school year gets busy!
As you plan professional learning for the upcoming school year, consider how you can mold your presentation options to fit your teachers' needs! Read on for refreshing ways to make your professional learning sessions practical for today's teachers.
Mini Live Sessions
Gathering your whole teaching staff in one room can be a difficult task, especially when you take different planning times, lunches, and arrival/dismissal duties into account. Staff meetings are often planned in advance, and they can be a great opportunity to share quick professional learning sessions. Taking just 10-15 minutes at the start or end of a staff meeting can help you provide some quick professional learning tips without scheduling an extra hour to gather the entire staff!
Webinars offer a flexible option for professional learning since they can be streamed on devices in the classroom, in a conference room with a group of teachers, from home, or anywhere there’s wifi! Webinars can bring teachers together from different areas of the country (or even the globe!) since they don’t require all of the participants to gather in one room together. Even better, most webinars, like those in Discovery Education’s Creating Curious Classrooms Series, are offered on-demand after their live premiere, so participants can tune in at a time that’s best for them!
Another way to make a practical scheduling choice for professional development is providing resources that can be viewed on teachers’ own time. Instead of finding a common time to walk everyone through the same information at the same pace, asynchronous materials allow teachers to work through content at their own pace and at a time that works best for them. DE’s Interactive Courses and microlearnings offer teachers the opportunity to choose what they learn about and when they’ll review the content, which helps match varying interests and differing schedules!
Find refreshing ideas for professional learning with DE's on-demand webinar, Creating Curious Classrooms: Supporting Our Teachers!
Think about where your teachers spend their time – they probably split their day between their classrooms, the hallways, or the teacher’s lounge. Consider dedicating a high-traffic space in your school to display professional learning information so your teachers can learn while they’re on the move!Bulletin board displays can share information, house grab-and-go flyers, and can easily be switched out to reflect timely topics as needed.
Professional Learning Networks
Professional learning networks may seem informal, but they can create an organic exchange of ideas and allow for discussion that is relevant to teachers’ current challenges. When you have a problem and can’t find a solution, it’s natural to turn to a friend for advice rather than hope there will be a webinar or lecture scheduled about the topic! Professional learning networks like the Discovery Educator Network connect educators through virtual and in-person events to allow for professional growth, support from other teachers who “get it”, and an easy way to stay up–to–date with the latest trends in education.
Professional learning is meant to help teachers learn and grow in their craft, so it's more important than ever to find PL that fits even the busiest schedules! Allowing teachers to explore a variety of professional learning options can help them learn in a way that fits their needs and their interests. As you plan sessions for the upcoming school year, consult with your teachers to determine what type of professional learning would be most practical for them, and try to widen the options to help keep the learning going!