With so much discussion about defining high quality professional development, we talk about strategies for engaging adult learners, giving educators usable take-away strategies, and coaching implementation in real-world instructional settings—all while maintaining a focus on improving student learning.
Two main themes coming out of Dr. John Hattie’s Visible Learning work are Know thy Impact and creating Assessment Capable Learners. Putting these themes into action means teachers and students build a teaching-learning relationship—teachers directly teach expectations for and the path to learning, and students learn to self-assess and talk about how their learning is going. When teachers are able to put these themes into action the classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive learning environment.
We teach educators how these messages fit within their teaching of children, but we tend to fall short of creating professional development learning environments that give educators experiences to build their own skills as Assessment Capable Learners. How can these themes be used to improve professional development?
Too often, educators come to professional development with a willingness to be filled with information and skills, not with a readiness to be reflective and drive their own learning.
So how do we give educators opportunities to reflect on their learning? How do we get them to ask the important questions: Where am I now? Where am I going? How do I get there?
- In training and coaching sessions: Guided practice of reflectively asking these questions sets the stage for educators to drive their own professional development growth.
- In PD days:
- Use activities that encourage educators to share their responses to these questions. This will give you insight into tailoring the adult learning experience.
- Promote collaborative learning by pairing educators who have a grasp of the content with educators who have just started learning the content.
In Missouri, we have emphasized statewide consistency of high quality professional development. Developing educators as Assessment Capable Learners is increasingly critical to our work.
As we strive for implementation fidelity of effective instructional practices, the training and coaching process hinges on professional development providers Knowing thy Impact. Teaching educators to be Assessment Capable Learners is vital to Knowing thy Impact of professional development.