Summary & Reflection by Steve O'Shaughnessy
Chapter 4 focuses on preparing teachers for blended learning. The chapter opens with data and quotes from Stanford University’s Dr. Arnetta Ball and the model for generative change highlighting the idea that teachers are not objects of change but instead need to act as the agent of change. A study by Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is referenced, highlighting the fact that most teachers do not believe professional development is effective or meaningful. The chapter then goes on to focus on suggested best practices, guiding principles and framework for planning, providing recommendations for differentiated and personalized professional development. It suggests to the reader we rethink professional development, examining duration and distribution, coaching and collaboration, simulation of practice (modeling), and the technology we expect our teachers to use. CHOMP is introduced the valuable criteria for effective professional development:
Collaborate- Coach and create meaningful communication
Hands On- Gamer and Tinkering methods
On-going- Must have structure and environment fostering continued learning
Mindset- Why not the what?
Personalize- Differentiated plans acknowledging the individual learning needs of teachers
The chapter closes referencing a book by Malcom Gladwell called Tipping Point. Which focuses on the ideas, products, concepts, and technology going mainstream and capturing the minds and hearts of society. The author further suggests that to achieve full buy in for blended learning and technology by teachers that a tipping point needs to be achieved within our schools and the way to do this is to differentiate for the needs of the teachers.
The vision in my school is of data driven, project based learning, students should be leading lessons and working in stations the diversify learning. Teachers are devoted to the faith and exude gospel values, are continuous learners, fostering mercy and humility and kindness, who hold students to high expectations while conveying a sense of caring and understanding. Does my vision sound similar to yours?
The skills required for this vision include piety, empathy, compassion, a love for learning, teaching, and students, growth mindset, grit, strong classroom management skills, fearless experimentation, an understanding of project based learning, technology, data driven learning, and differentiated instruction. What other skills would you include?
Professional development as highlighted in this chapter is essential but is not a one off deal. It is a marathon not a sprint. Some skills I mentioned can certainly be improved or achieved through effective professional develop plans (ie. Data Analysis, Responsive Classroom, Differentiated Instruction, Data Driven Planning and Teaching, Project Based Learning, even Spiritual Development to focus on our vocation) My greatest struggle has been imparting empathy to staff. How do you teach kindness and understanding in your schools?
Teachers engage actively in their own professional development when given the opportunity to choose how and when to engage in PD. The ADW does a great job acknowledging this offer book studies, classes, and courses at different times, intervals, sessions, both online and in person on a number of topics and issues beneficial to educators. Survey teachers to determine the needs of the staff as well as what PD topics the teachers want to engage is essential to providing them PD opportunity. I believe demonstrating humility and taking the same classes and actively engaging in teacher professional development also adds meaning to the course and leads by example. Have you ever had an administrator not participate in PD with you?
I will measure the success of my initiatives by analyzing effectiveness feedback from all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers.) Observations, evaluations, and walkthroughs should also be clear indicators if each classroom is living up to the vision of the school. What do you believe is the best way to measure the success of professional development?