EDLD 5388 is all about professional learning. The course begins with the premise that schools, including mine, are going about professional learning the wrong way and we are to propose a change to the way professional learning happens. There does not seem to be any allowance or consideration for schools like mine where we have already started the professional learning revolution. At the end of every school year, the staff completes a survey by Panorama Education that measures perceptions on teaching and learning. On the 2016-2017 survey, only 23% of staff thought that professional development opportunities provided by the school and district were relevant or effective.
Due to a variety of circumstances, my campus welcomed a new principal and a new associate principal for the 2017-2018 school year. The new principal immediately evaluated the survey responses and decided that among first priorities was professional learning. He formed a team, of which I was a member, and we began teaming together to evaluate the state of professional learning on campus.
My proposal for change is based on the details provided by the survey. Professional development during the first week of the school year often sets the tone for the year. If that first experience together communicates that the administration is out of touch with the needs of the staff, earning that trust back will be extremely challenging. Unfortunately, this is exactly what teachers reported in their Panorama surveys. Teachers reported being required to sit through PD that wasn’t applicable to their teaching field, was almost what they needed but not quite, or was a poor reproduction of a presentation someone else was able to attend.
To be clear, there are two different types of professional learning for teachers at my campus. There is professional learning provided by the district and professional learning provided by the campus. In recent years, our district has held one PD day in the fall and one in the spring. Sessions for every discipline and grade level are offered, in addition to some that are not specific to a discipline or grade level. Teachers get to choose which session to attend.
We have attempted similar choice concepts on campus, as well. This is the trend in the districts in our area… everyone is experimenting with professional learning so that we aren’t seeing the same kind of problems that are indicated in this course. There are still issues that need to be improved, but the process has already started.
For this assignment, I chose to attempt Duarte’s design concepts by choosing simply images to represent my concepts. The apple, the perfect symbol for all things related to education, was chosen to convey idealistic expectations on day one. The red bell pepper represents the PD experiences that are fine, lovely even, but not what is needed at the time. Of course, the hand-drawn sketch of the apple represents every PD that has been attended previously by someone else and reproduced via summary. This is how I incorporated the story component. Through the process, I have been concerned with how this story would be perceived. I have never intended to complain about the status quo, only introduce new ideas for innovation and growth. It is with this in mind that I attempted to explain how we can move forward to incorporate 5 key principles of effective professional learning.
I feel like the construct and format took away from my message primarily because I was trying to utilize the striking image concept, but without a pricy subscription package, my options were limited to the Creative Commons freebies through Pixabay. Then, in editing and finalizing the video portion, the timings didn’t workout like they were scheduled and some audio fluctuations were problematic. I’m usually competent with technology, but I have a new device and lost my tried and true programs in the “upgrade.”
You can watch my call to action on professional learning here: https://youtu.be/uqbElEBEMIE
Duarte, Nancy. How to create better visual presentations. (2013, February 19). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/so9EJoQJc-0
Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/system/files/2013- 176_ProfessionalDevelopment.pdf
All images are released under Creative Commons CC0 license and do not require attribution.