Teacher Learning

Teachers often are subject to the “spray and pray” approach to professional development. The presenters spray as much information as possible at the teacher and pray that something sticks (Sadly many teachers mimic this approach in their classrooms). Professional development for many schools and school leaders needs to be re-conceptualized not as a thing that you go to but rather an ongoing event that occurs at a school about indentified topics of interest which link to specific goals/needs of the school site.

One example of professional development that has bucked the one shot spray and pray model is the district wide reform efforts undertaken by Barrie Bennett and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Bennett makes a minimum of a five year commitment with each district with which he works and then commits to the development of individuals at all levels (teacher, site administrators, and district level leadership). He has worked extensively in Canada, Australia and Ireland. This approach to long term development and partnership between university entities and local school districts could be productive one to adopt in the U.S.