Skip to content

Month: November 2019

What Makes Professional Learning Actually Work?

 

“Don’t call it professional development—call it professional learning.”

Jill Abbott, senior vice president and managing director at SIIA made this statement in a recent edWebinar.

Additional panelists Jeff Mao, CEO of Edmoxie; Bruce Umpstead, director of state programs at IMS Global Learning Consortium; and Ilya Zeldin, founder, and CEO of 2gnoMe, recommended that educational leaders take a deep breath and recognize that there is a crisis happening in our districts.

There are vast quantities of people who could be the best teachers ever, yet they don’t want to be in the profession. It is not easy for teachers to thrive and grow when teacher professional learning is irrelevant, generic, and unsustainable.

A familiar comment from teachers regarding district or school-wide professional learning is, “Well, we’re just going to ride this one out because it is going to change in two years or when we get a new administrator.” The panelists suggest that if “we can get the professional learning piece done collaboratively with teachers, not at teachers, maybe we can retain and recruit highly qualified engaging and innovative educators.”

Effective models of professional learning

The first goal of effective teacher professional learning models is understanding who teachers are and their needs. This approach can enable administrators to differentiate to meet the needs of all their teachers.

Professional learning opportunities need to be designed with agency, fidelity, contextual learning, relevancy, and sustainability.

When given agency, teachers understand the what, why, and how to genuinely embrace what they are learning and put those skills to use in their classroom instruction.

Challenges of professional learning

Professional learning, defined as one-hit wonders with hour-long speaker presentations and all-day workshops, leaves teachers unequipped to implement best practices and personalized learning opportunities for their students. The challenge for school and district leaders recognizes that this model is professional development and not professional learning.

Professional learning opportunities include establishing knowledge bases, developing skills, instilling trust, and believing in the process, and, most importantly, allowing time for practice. The biggest challenge for leaders is integrating all the puzzle pieces into authentic learning experiences that support teachers in making changes that impact student learning.

Technology and professional learning

Whether face-to-face, virtual, or both, technology has the potential to personalize professional learning for teachers. It gives voice and choice to the learners in learning through meaningful, relevant, driven by interests, and self-initiated.

Connecting to individuals in and outside the district through webinars, voice chats, or phone calls lends itself to teacher agency. This gives teachers the capacity to choose and voice versus canned and generic professional development programming where one size does not fit all.

The bottom line is if we as school and district leaders are asking our teachers to recognize and personalize learning for the students, isn’t it about time to do the same thing for them?

Source: What makes professional learning actually work? eSchoolNews November 2019

 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

What Makes Professional Learning Actually Work?

“Don’t call it professional development—call it professional learning.” Jill Abbott, senior vice president and managing director at SIIA made this statement in a recent edWebinar.

Additional panelists Jeff Mao, CEO of Edmoxie; Bruce Umpstead, director of state programs at IMS Global Learning Consortium; and Ilya Zeldin, founder, and CEO of 2gnoMe, recommended that educational leaders take a deep breath and recognize that there is a crisis happening in our districts.

There are vast quantities of people who could be the best teachers ever, yet they don’t want to be in the profession.

It is not easy for teachers to thrive and grow when teacher professional learning is irrelevant, generic, and unsustainable.

A familiar comment from teachers regarding district or school-wide professional learning is, “Well, we’re just going to ride this one out because it is going to change in two years or when we get a new administrator.” The panelists suggest that if “we can get the professional learning piece done collaboratively with teachers, not at teachers, maybe we can retain and recruit highly qualified engaging and innovative educators.”
Effective models of professional learning

The first goal of effective teacher professional learning models is understanding who teachers are and their needs. This approach can enable administrators to differentiate to meet the needs of all their teachers.

Professional learning opportunities need to be designed with agency, fidelity, contextual learning, relevancy, and sustainability. When given agency, teachers understand the what, why, and how to genuinely embrace what they are learning and put those skills to use in their classroom instruction.

Challenges of professional learning

Professional learning, defined as one-hit wonders with hour-long speaker presentations and all-day workshops, leaves teachers unequipped to implement best practices and personalized learning opportunities for their students. The challenge for school and district leaders recognizes that this model is the professional development and not professional learning.

Professional learning opportunities include establishing knowledge bases, developing skills, instilling trust and belief in the process, and, most importantly, allowing time for practice. The biggest challenge for leaders is integrating all the puzzle pieces into authentic learning experiences that support teachers in making changes that impact student learning.

Technology and professional learning

Whether face-to-face, virtual, or both, technology has the potential to personalize professional learning for teachers. It gives voice and choice to the learners in terms of learning through meaningful, relevant, driven by interests, and many times self-initiated. Connecting to individuals in and outside of the district through webinars, voice chats, or phone calls lends itself to teacher agency. This gives teachers the capacity to choose and voice versus canned and generic professional development programming where one size does not fit all.

The bottom line is if we as school and district leaders are asking our teachers to recognize and personalize learning for the students, isn’t it about time to do the same thing for them?

Source: eSchoolNews

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

How Districts are Addressing Adolescent Mental Health

Research from a recent white paper highlights the increasing crisis in adolescent mental health. In a recent edWebinar, presenters emphasized the need for school districts “to intervene with students as quickly as possible to keep them safe.”

The rise of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression rates are increasing, and suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for 10- to 19-year-olds across the spectrum of race, gender, and socioeconomic levels.

Seventy percent of teens cite anxiety and depression as a significant problem for their friends and their peers, and 40 percent of students report that bullying, substance, and alcohol abuse are affecting fellow students. More than 10 million students between the ages of 13 to 18 need professional help for a mental health condition.

This situation is a “mental health tsunami,” moving very fast in schools across the country, and the pressure is on. Some of the underlying causes of adolescent stress identified by mental health professionals include academics, social media, and childhood trauma such as homelessness and abuse.

Gateways to mental health issues

Schools struggle as students are exposed to online gaming, pornography, social media, and pro-self-harm websites when using technology outside of the school walls. While not evil, technology can be a gateway to some of the harmful behaviors we find in students who are in a crisis, such as gambling, sex addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidality.

Approaches by school districts

So how can school districts create a response system that supports students? There are several approaches that districts are taking to deal with adolescent mental health issues, including school-wide interventions, adding more support for students, and extending services from community helpers.

Dickinson ISD has taken a community-based approach by partnering with Gaggle, local law enforcement agencies, and coordinating agencies to intervene when there is a concern.

This collaborative approach lets students know that the school community cares about them and that the community will take appropriate measures to support the health and well-being of students.

Another school district that has an impactful influence on adolescent mental health is the Nampa School District. Taking an intra-district approach with the school community, district leaders created the Nampa Behavioral Youth Impact Team. This team identified three themes to define the problem and create proactive measures: school culture, adult and student relationships, and student-led learning.

Mental health is a growing crisis for our adolescent populations, but there are tools and resources available to schools and districts. Only when school and local communities focus on a common goal can they create safe and healthy learning experiences for all students. The presenters ended the edWebinar by echoing a common theme: Everyone has a vested interest in growing safe, secure, healthy kids

Source: eSchoolNews
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

How Districts are Addressing Adolescent Mental Health

Research from a recent white paper highlights the increasing crisis in adolescent mental health. In a recent edWebinar, presenters emphasized the need for school districts “to intervene with students as quickly as possible to keep them safe.”

The rise of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression rates are increasing, and suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for 10- to 19-year-olds across the spectrum of race, gender, and socioeconomic levels.

Seventy percent of teens cite anxiety and depression as a significant problem for their friends and peers, and 40 percent of students report that bullying, substance, and alcohol abuse affect fellow students. More than 10 million students between the ages of 13 to 18 need professional help for a mental health condition.

This situation is a “mental health tsunami,” moving very fast in schools across the country, and the pressure is on. Some of the underlying causes of adolescent stress identified by mental health professionals include academics, social media, and childhood trauma such as homelessness and abuse.

Gateways to mental health issues

Schools struggle as students are exposed to online gaming, pornography, social media, and pro-self-harm websites when using technology outside of the school walls. While not evil, technology can be a gateway to some of the harmful behaviors we find in students in a crisis, such as gambling, sex addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidality.

Approaches by school districts

So how can school districts create a response system that supports students? There are several approaches that districts are taking to deal with adolescent mental health issues, including school-wide interventions, adding more support for students, and extending services from community helpers.

Dickinson ISD has taken a community-based approach by partnering with Gaggle, local law enforcement agencies, and coordinating agencies to intervene when there is a concern. This collaborative approach lets students know that the school community cares about them and that the community will take appropriate measures to support students’ health and well-being. Another school district that has an impactful influence on adolescent mental health is the Nampa School District. Taking an intra-district approach with the school community, district leaders created the Nampa Behavioral Youth Impact Team. This team identified three themes to define the problem and create proactive measures: school culture, adult and student relationships, and student-led learning.

Mental health is a growing crisis for our adolescent populations, but there are tools and resources available to schools and districts. Only when school and local communities focus on a common goal can they create safe and healthy learning experiences for all students. The presenters ended the edWebinar by echoing a common theme: Everyone has a vested interest in growing safe, secure, healthy kids.

Originally Published: eSchoolNews
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Strategies for Culturally Responsive Teaching

A critical topic for schools and communities–and most importantly, our students–is how teachers nurture ALL students, create a sense of belonging, and keep educational standards high.

Only then can students, especially immigrant students and students of color, meet their potential and succeed in school and beyond.

During a recent edWebinar, the presenters underscored that when schools make generalizations about particular student populations and their behavior, they strip them of their individuality, and these students become “invisible.”

You can’t look away

Racial discrimination can lead to trauma responses such as feelings of intense fear, anxiety, and helplessness in students. Studies show that when black adolescents feel their teachers lack respect for their background, it can harm their academic outcomes.

To create a classroom environment that mitigates student identity threats, it is critical for teachers and school leaders to implement culturally responsive approaches. It is important to “establish trust through demanding and supportive relationships, foster hopeful narratives about belonging in the setting and use child-centered teaching techniques.”

A lens

Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), a multi-pronged approach to teacher competencies, is not intended as a checklist but as a lens through which we teach and reflect on our teachings. The presenters’ CRT competencies include reflecting on our cultural lens and potential biases in that lens. We have to understand that we can have personal biases but that there are biases ingrained in the system.

When culturally responsive teachers draw on students’ culture to shape curricula and instruction in their classroom, they bring real-world issues into the classroom, particularly issues that students experience and grapple with daily in their communities.

A common misconception of culturally responsive teaching is that this is a feel-good approach. But in fact, one of CRT’s most significant pillars is the promotion of academic achievement that results in students achieving at high levels of academics. Other competencies critical to culturally responsive teaching are encouraging respect for student differences, collaboration with families in the local community, and communication in linguistically and culturally responsive ways.

The presenters suggest that educators and school leaders regularly and consistently be intentional about the work that they are doing with our students. Only then can we ensure that we are taking the time to see students as human beings and not just vessels of the content we are trying to pour into them.

Source: eSchoolNews

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin