I recently read a great post about The 7 C’s of Professional Development. To sum up the article, the 7 C’s are: “Content, Collaboration, Community, Choice, Convenience, Commitment, and Correlated”. It made me reflect a bit on both the topic of, and my experience with professional development…
I am someone who always wants to learn more, do more, and improve on my skills as a teacher, parent, wife, blogger, etc. I like to be involved in things. I like to research new ideas. I like to attend training sessions to find new motivation for those occasions I feel like I’m stuck in a rut. This doesn’t just apply to my teaching career; when I used to sell Partylite, I looked forward to the monthly trainings, because I always wanted to learn more. I like to be inspired.
Because I am this way, I have a hard time understanding people who have no interest in Professional Development. Why would you NOT want to better yourself?
I wrote a while back on the subject of Continuing Education, I also wrote a follow up to it. I’m back working for a school district, so most of my clock hours are covered by our monthly trainings/meetings. While the training we receive is high quality, and completely applicable, it shouldn’t be the only thing that shows up on my Professional Development (PD) resume. That said, I feel very lucky that the training and PD offered by my employer follow the 7 C’s mentioned above.
Content and Correlated
The content of Professional Development courses needs to be relevant to what you do every day. Most of the trainings I attend give tips and tricks that are directly useful in the classroom. It is helpful to have a specific theme(s) as the focus of the presentation or discussion. Some of the most useful for me have been those specifically directed at looking at math curriculum, literacy enrichment, and dealing with difficult behaviors. I love when I can leave a training with ideas to try the very next day.
All sorts of people who work in a classroom have ideas that have worked, as well as ideas that have NOT worked. That’s the main reason I started this blog! When teachers collaborate, great things happen. Ideas are shared, teachers grow, the children in their classrooms grow; it’s a cycle worth being a part of.
Our school district is taking a look at some curriculum changes. At a recent training, they asked us to work in groups to identify which 10 goals (out of 36) were the most important to us in our classrooms. This simple activity was brilliant, as it fostered some wonderful conversation as to what really is important in preschool. Not only did we talk about what, but why we feel certain things are the most important goals for preschoolers. It also made us think and talk about what we are doing to guide children toward meeting those goals.
I used to think there wasn’t much of a “community” feeling among teachers – at least not that utilize the same social networking outlets I do. I am quickly learning that if you put yourself in the right environment, the teaching community is not only out there, but is very active! One place this is very apparent, is at Teachercast.net. Not only does that site have a great blog with many contributing authors (which I have been honored to be invited to participate in), they also have app reviews, podcasts, etc.
I talked a lot about choices for Professional Development in my two blog posts that I previously linked to. Searching for options besides just what is offered by your employer, will guarantee you find something that will teach you using your best learning style.
Lisa says it best in her articles on the 7 C’s: “We all know teacher’s largest struggle… “I don’t have enough time in my day!” PD needs to be convenient and online is a GREAT way to go. Anytime, anywhere learning at your convenience. From cell phones, to iPods, to PCs and iPads…. PD really is just an on/off switch away.”
I feel as though our district is quite committed to their teachers. They also are committed to helping us all grow in what we do. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
Keep the 7 C’s in mind not only when you are choosing Professional Development for yourself, but also your employer. Some employers are better than others at offering quality training. The same may be true in supporting your desires to seek out and attend Professional Development opportunities. In the end, you will be glad you did.