Melissa Mellor

No More One-Size-Fits-All PD

Almost everyone agrees that we need to personalize and differentiate instruction for students. But all too often we don't do the same for educators.

Listen to Brian Nichols, principal of Hidenwood Elementary School in Newport News, Va., and winner of ASCD's 2010 Outstanding Young Educator Award, discuss how his staff members receive personalized and tailored professional development. Instead of all-staff workshops and trainings that may not be relevant for a particular teacher or could be way above or below a certain teacher’s skill level, Hidenwood educators benefit from individual professional development plans that meet their specific needs.

For another example of personalized professional development, read about how one rural school district in Wyoming has adopted a choice-based and teacher-led professional development model.

Does your school individualize professional development? Share your comments on the benefits and challenges of this model.

Comments (12)

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

May 25, 2010

I know Brian Nichols and he walks the walk.

I would love to know more about the self-directed piece of PD for teachers he talks about in this clip.

In the 21st Century, PD should use a 3-pronged approach.
- local context (professional learning communities)
- global context (bounded communities of practice)
- individual context (personal/professional learning networks)

Thanks for sharing Brian- I hope others will jump in and add to this important thread.

Jeff Stamper

May 25, 2010

In the piece, you speak about “coaching”.  Who is being utilized as a coach?

How many hours or days are required of the teachers and are some of the learning opportunities embedded in planning time or is all of the time from professional development money?

rob

May 25, 2010

I would there was no requirement on hours/days for coaching.  It should be on an as needed basis.  if a teacher feels they don’t need it, there loss.  If it is individualized you can’t prescsribe a number of horus and days.

The coach could always seek out and work with teachers.  that are reluctant.

Alice Wakefield

May 25, 2010

Congratulations to Hidenwood educators and Brian who are making a difference in Newport News!

Paige

May 25, 2010

I am interested in learning more about the pre-assessment/benchmarks you have for the teachers, where they came from and why you decided to use those benchmarks as markers for professional development.  Do other programs have information to share on their goals & objectives for staff?

Brian Nichols

May 25, 2010

I believe that coaches can serve in a number of different roles.  We start with people that have an area of expertise or have demonstrated mastery of a technique/concept that we want to scale up.  We have several teachers that are effective coaches.  They can be released from some classroom duties to observe, co-teach, plan, etc.  We also use specialists (reading, math, technology, etc.) for coaching purposes.  The principal as the instructional leader can also serve in a coaching capacity.

Bob

May 26, 2010

Great work!  We are moving to a model similar to this next year.  I too would love to see the benchmarking tool(s) that are used.

Garry

May 26, 2010

We at Rotorua Intermediate in New Zealand have just started on a similar learning journey with our staff so it has been interesting to view Brian’s video and read the comments of others.  Our approach is centred on the belief in developing ‘Teaching and Learning as Inquiry’. We are endeavouring to achieve this by giving staff the opportunity to experience this form of learning first hand.  Why? Because most of my staff have gone through an education system where the ownership of the learning journey was defintiely set by their teachers.  Each staff member has started with a ‘Specific Question to Focus their Learning Inquiry’  They have been able to choose to work with others or by themselves.  The duration of their inquiry is to be completed within 14 weeks then we will have a series of staff seminars where teachers will share their inquiry focus, the process they undertook and inquiry learning outcomes.  This sharing will no doubt provide possible inquiry ideas for the future as well as allowing for monitoring of trends of inquiry and actual buy-in by teachers.

Alan

May 27, 2010

Also from New Zealand. Part of the individualisation I introduced when a principal was teacher professional development portfolios, based on some stuff i got years ago from an ASCD institute run by Kay Burke. It was very successful. If anyone wants to chat re this contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Emily

June 2, 2010

I am interested in learning more about the pre-assessment/benchmarks you have for the teachers, where they came from and why you decided to use those benchmarks as markers for professional development.  Do other programs have information to share on their goals & objectives for staff?

Pauline

June 3, 2010

I was one of Alan’s teachers (see above). I still consider what we did with his teacher professional development portfolio one of the most valuable in school learning/development programmes I have experienced.
I also have this portfolio to reflect back on.
Ironically I am finishing my Master of Teaching degree and it is based on a very similar model.

Richard Howard

June 3, 2010

I agree with Paige and Bob.
Where can we see your benchmarks? That sounds like an awesome idea!
Thanks,
Richard

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