|Posted on 20 October, 2014 at 4:40|
Keeping staff up-to-date with professional learning can be rather difficult, particularly in the area of technology were the skillset and knowledge of staff can vary immensely. There are a number of ways of sharing such information with staff that will not overwhelm them or take up too much of their free time.
Professional Learning Teams
Schools are beginning to embrace the concept of grouping staff based on their skillset to personalise professional learning. This enables expert teachers to share their knowledge of certain key areas such as curriculum, behaviour management and other upcoming developments that will impact teaching and learning with staff. These teams meet periodically, such as part of faculty time or a dedicated lunch time) with a clear agenda and overall goal. The goal could be to improve school programs or policies collaboratively. It is also a fantastic opportunity for staff to work on a whole school initiative and then champion the initiative within their own faculty or year group.
Before School Meetings
Quick meetings before school are extremely effective. Staff typically meet in the school’s common room and attend a 15 minute presentation on a specific topic. For example, if showing all staff “How to use Popplet to increase literacy”, a quick overview with step by step instructions followed by a Q&A is sufficient to encourage staff to implement the technological tool into their lesson plans with minimal fuss. It is recommended that these sessions are held regularly on the same school day and time. For maximum results, ask staff to complete a survey requesting which professional learning topics appeal most to them and create an agenda based on the findings.
Instructional email communications
Attending professional learning sessions may not be possible for all staff due to their professional and personal commitments, so using email to distribute information on professional learning matters using graphic organisers may be ideal. Particularly in terms of using technology, offering staff with handouts that acts as a ‘cheat sheet’ will encourage staff to put into practice what they have learned. This is effective as it is learned in their own time and can be implemented into any lesson as it can be stored in their day books and referred to at any time.
Regardless of the strategy/ies that the school implements, it is imperative that a holistic approach is used and that all staff are willing to participate in the professional learning program. It is also wise to map professional learning activities to BOSTES Accreditation Standards as this will encourage staff to work towards attaining their own professional goals whilst working together to achieve overall school goals.