What Do You Believe to Be the Most Effective Methods for Delivering Professional Development to Teachers?
And so goes Alfred Thompson in his Computer Science Teacher blog. After he spotted that "networking with others ranked a high second. Online resources and professional conferences ranked third and fourth (by my calculation) respectively", in his mentioned survey, he comes up with some experiential theories about learning, conversation and teacher's networking:
- I think that online resources are valued and thought of as effective in part because they help with the time and money part of the equation. If you have no time or money being able to learn on your own online for little to no cost that’s going to be a lot better than a workshop that may not be on topic, be located far away, and cost a lot of money. Professional conferences provide some of what a workshop does and some professional networking but not always enough of either. I know that some people go to conferences just for the networking. Others just for the sessions. Any way you play it you are going to miss out on something because you can’t be in two places at once.
- If you are an AP CS teacher sign up to be an AP Reader. What? Yes, sign up to be an AP reader. The grading itself is like a graduate level course in exam creation and grading. Seriously you can’t pay for a 'course' that good in my opinion. Secondly you will have networking time. Meals, evenings, breaks, through out the day you will have a chance to talk to some of the very best computer science teachers (high school and university both) in the country. I’d be a reader again in a heart beat if they would let me but I don’t teach AP CS or an equivalent college course these days.
Secondly [we think he meant third] look for residential workshops/conferences that are held at various places around the country. Sure you may wind up living in a dorm but that helps keep costs down. But remember those late night 'bull sessions' in the dorm when you were in college? Guess what? The are even better with a group of professional educators who care deeply about their work. Yes you may give up between a few days and a week of summer vacation but the networking alone will be worth it. Plus the shared learning and discussions with peers will teach you a great deal. You may make friends for life – I know I have.
If you want to receive my future posts regularly for FREE, please subscribe in a reader or by e-mail. Follow me on Twitter. For other concerns, Contact Me at anytime.