George Couros, having been asked to share what advice he would give to schools, said: “What I felt was important to share was the notion of educators ‘experiencing’ the type of learning that we talk about in their own professional learning. It is hard for anyone to change until they feel something different.”
That is a truly big idea, an idea that says it is difficult if not impossible for teachers to create in their classrooms what they have not experienced in their own professional development.
As a relatively new teacher I remember an “inservice” in which 100 or so high school teachers were subject to an extended lecture on the importance of group discussion in the high school classroom. So I knew first-hand early in my career the crazy-making experiences (my term, not his) that Couros cautions against in his blog post.
Conversely, I have experienced professional development whose learning processes were aligned with what it recommended for classrooms or school leadership. Madeline Hunter, for instance, taught me as she wanted me to teach my students, and Parker Palmer interacted with me as he hoped I would interact with those I lead. While I may not have always agreed with the methods used, I at least had first-hand experiences to draw upon in deciding when and how to use what I had learned.
What examples do you have of professional development in which the learning processes used matched the way you were expected to teach and/or lead?