Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Golden Rule of Professional Development

I got an email a few days ago announcing the potential for professional development in the areas that I have some expertise in. I actually produce research in these areas and so my first reaction was complete rejection. On second thought I re-examined the invite to see what the format was. It was the classic workshop where we will be given all the wisdom collected by beings with superior intellect and secret knowledge. Then we can turn around use the secret knowledge and transform our results.

This is the model of professional development that our own research would point to being highly ineffective. On second thought I realized this is how most teachers feel when PD from the outside is brought to the school or district. The Golden Rule should apply here as in all other social interactions.

As a professional I would like to be treated with respect to my expertise and knowledge I want to part of a change process not a subject of a program. The same could be easily argued is true of teachers. Instead of coming and talking at we can come and talk with and stay awhile. This of course is a much less profitable suggestion to professional developers and harder for schools to sustain. I have erred in the past but our work in the last few years supporting technology integration in school leaves no doubt- we have to abide by:

Develop other professionals like you would like to be developed. Not as a show but as a sustained discussion.
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