Bringing PD into the Shift Reflection - Alicia Brown
Professional Development must go beyond the traditional training if educators are going to implement the best practice and become agents of change in a blended learning environment. Professional Development should include collaboration and coaching from other professional peers, a commitment to continuous learning, a personalized learning plan, and hands-on learning experiences. In many way the new model for professional development allows the educators to see learning from a student’s perspective, which allows for a richer learning environment with the best practices.
In many ways, this Blended Learning professional development opportunity through ADW is an example of the type of professional development discussed in the chapter. The learning opportunity is spread over a span of weeks instead of days. There is collaboration among peers, and we have an opportunity to practice activities that can be used in the classroom.
Although I love professional development, over the last few years, I decided to seek non-traditional means for developing professionally. I felt that my teaching methods were not meeting the needs of my 21st century student learners. In desperation, I started looking online and discovered Jennifer Gonzalez’s The Cult of Pedagogy and Edutopia. I also discovered the public library has Kanopy which includes professional development videos for educators. These resources have served as a springboard for me to grow. As I learn and grow, I am sharing with my colleagues and other educators so that we can shift how learning take place in the classroom.
The Differentiated Approach Chart on page 43 helped me to identify myself as a technology enthusiast. In November, I became a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator and am working on my Google certification. I like having an individualized learning plan for professional development, for it has made me a better educator and colleague. What I learn, I share. The exchange of ideas have taken me to new heights in the classroom because I am able to think about the best practices. I am even willing to take risks and fail forward by learning from what does not go well. The goal is not to be selfish with the knowledge but to be a generous and gracious sharer of the knowledge so that the world of education is change. The chart helped me to understand not only the chasm that exists in professional development, but also how to best serve my colleagues and other educators as we continue in education in the 21st century.
One of my greatest challenges is how to best implement blended learning in a classical Christian education setting. Classical education is built on the foundation of wisdom and virtue; Socratic discussions are essential. Blended learning is forcing me to redefine how I do classical education so that learning is rich, engaging, and life changing for our students.
How has this chapter sparked ideas that will enable you to create a range of professional development opportunities and paths to better differentiate and ultimately personalize professional development?
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