Bad meetings. Bad professional development. They are a plague on the educational landscape.
How is it possible that after decades of complaints so many educators continue to experience boring, unproductive meetings and mind numbing professional development?
More specifically, why is it that:
• so many teachers who complain about poorly-run meetings become administrators who conduct poorly-run meetings?
• so many teachers who protest meaningless, ineffective, and often demeaning professional development continue to offer the same kinds of professional development when they become administrators?
Cynics might say that it’s a process akin to fraternity hazing—if I had to endure it, so should you. I don’t think that is the reason, though.
Here are some possible reasons:
* Many leaders do not know what they do not know. Having never experienced well-run meetings or well-designed professional development themselves, they simple repeat what was done to them.
• Leaders who have experienced the processes and benefits of well-designed professional development are not clear about what made it effective. They cannot repeat what they do not deeply understand.
• Leaders do not deeply understand the principles of good teaching. Those who do may not appreciate that those principles apply to adults as well as children. As a result, the least engaging and effective “teaching” methods are used—lectures, endless PowerPoint slides, and so on.
The solution: Whatever the cause, things will not significantly improve until leaders are explicitly taught how to design and implement meaningful, engaging meetings and professional development. And, of course, that means they have the will to do the demanding learning and planning that are required to ensure high-quality professional learning for all educators so that all students experience high-quality teaching every day.
What is your diagnosis? How is it possible that after decades of complaints so many educators continue to experience boring, unproductive meetings and mind numbing professional development? Or do you disagree with my premise, believing instead that meetings and professional development for most educators are efficient and effective?