Is it Time to Consider Differentiated PD?

Submitted By:
Heather Robinson, St. Andrew's Episcopal School, TX

Why Don't We Differentiate Professional Development? by Pauline Zdonek
Edutopia, January 15, 2016

Good teachers know that each activity or lesson will not equally engage or excite every student. Differentiation in the classroom has been an understood necessity for successful classroom teachers. So why would we approach "teaching teachers" any differently? In the classroom, you have established goals and objectives your students work to achieve. In the broader context of the school, you have strategic goals and priorities that drive professional development efforts and initiatives. Valuable time and energy is often wasted in schools that introduce professional development to the faculty as if such a group is a single entity. Just like our students, our faculties are made up of unique learners. This article offers four imperatives, often used in successful classrooms, to help differentiate professional development: 1) Gauge teachers' readiness, 2) utilize teachers' interests, 3) get teachers involved, and 4) provide opportunities for continual assessment. Finally, and decisively, instead of providing a "one-shot" PD opportunity, part of ongoing teacher evaluation and professional development should be assessing how teachers are applying their learning in the classroom.

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