Writing for K-12 Dive, Katie Navarra recently reviewed new trends emerging for K-12 educator professional learning. Excerpts from the piece appear below:
The coronavirus has required teachers, like their students, to shift how they receive training and support. Even when schools can return to “normal,” these forced changes may result in long-term benefits. Following are four PD trends to watch in 2021 and beyond.
“PL in Pajamas” – Having on-demand PD experiences has been enhanced by COVID and will likely be continuing well into the future. The Texas Arlington Independent School District put in place virtual office hours, so at any given time educators can log into a Zoom to link and get on-demand support.
Bite-sized and Personalized – Impromptu PD opportunities have been an approach used by the Otsego Northern Catskills Board of Cooperative Educational Services in upstate New York. These nimble, short sessions address immediate challenges teachers have asked for help with, as indicated through surveys. Sessions as short as 10 minutes that focus on a specific skill are the way of the future. Arlington has created “choice boards” to allow users to pair the self-paced work with their level of expertise.
Shifts in Focus – School districts are flipping the focus of PD away from how to use technology to how to teach with the tool: Student engagement in a virtual environment and school connectedness are among top-requested topics by teachers. Other hot topics include social-emotional learning, wellness, and self-care. PD is also being offered for staff who are bus drivers, food service workers, maintenance and different operational staff.
Breaking Down Silos – Districts that are encouraging staff to share their knowledge and to leverage the power of a person’s expertise are finding greater success in shifting PD opportunities.