Creative Ways to Get Professional Development Going in Your School (or with a Group of Keen Teachers)

Every teacher has to get professional development hours, but reading another book about education or completing an online class alone may make some teachers feel out of the loop, disconnected from their peers. Here are some ways you can get the professional development going at your school to help everyone earn their PD hours in an engaging way.

1.) Teach Each Other.

Talk with the teachers in your school about what areas they feel like they could use some professional development in. Narrow down the top two or three. Identify experts in your school who could speak on these topics. For example, is there an official or teacher in the school who can address the negative school culture impacts of bullying?

When teachers teach each other, they are learning from people they know and trust, and the school is using its own resources to further develop its teaching practice.

2.) Host a Book Group.

A group of teachers in your school who are interested in learning more about a particular subject could read a book about it together. Then you can meet to discuss the book and to decide on action steps each teacher can take to improve their teaching as a result.

3.) Offer to Mentor or Coach Other Teachers.

If your school doesn’t offer a formal mentorship and coaching program, suggest it to the school officials. There may be new teachers who are not sure of how to handle their classrooms at the beginning of their careers, and there may be veteran teachers who want to learn a new skill from another teacher (whether new or veteran). Mentorship and coaching helps everyone improve their teaching practice, and it qualifies as a legitimate PD activity.

4.) Organise a Conference.

Get experts to speak at your school (including in-house experts) on topics that are of collective interest to the teachers there. For example, if math teachers want to know how to better use a new curriculum, seek out the publisher or a teacher from another school who has successfully used it before. Create a day- or two-long conference where teachers don’t have to travel too far to learn.

5.) Lead a Community Project.

If you see a need in your school community, spearhead an effort to fill it. This counts as a PD activity. You might work to find school supplies that can be donated to the learners most in-need at your school for example. You might contact local businesses for sponsorship of individual learners.

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