Did you know that whales swim horizontally, but sleep vertically (It’s true, Google it!). And humans are just the opposite. We move vertically, but sleep horizontally. What does that have to do with professional development? Well, it seems to me that both humans and whales are adapting to what they need. But have we adapted to how we are doing professional development? The world has changed radically in the last few years, but the format for teacher PD courses has stayed the same. In my experience, the vast majority of teacher professional development is still the all-day workshop. Once in a while I see a virtual conference come by, but that’s about it.
It has been over a century since Ebbinghaus discovered the learning curve, which showed just how fast we forget information after we have been exposed to it. Also among his findings:
- The way something is presented affects learning. The way the information is presented can affect how easy it can be remembered. If information is arranged logically and presented clearly, it is likely to be more easily remembered. Conversely, information that is disorganized or not useful is very difficult to remember, and begins to fade from our memories almost as soon as we are exposed to it.
- How you feel affects how well you remember. According to Ebbinghaus, our ability to retain information is influenced by physiological factors like stress and sleep. For many individuals, stress and poor memory retention create a harmful cycle, as stress can make it difficult to remember information, leading to further stress. In contrast, research indicates that sleep can enhance the brain’s ability to sort and store information.
Hmmm, have you been to a workshop lately that you didn’t know what they were talking about, or how it applied to you? Even more important, have you ever gone to a workshop tired or stressed? Tired from staying at school late to get your “War and Peace” size dissertation of a lesson plan done, detailing all of the various needs of your class, and the intricacies of teaching multiplication using arrays to someone who may have never taught that way before! Or stressed during the day, wondering what the heck is going on in your classroom that you’ll have to deal with tomorrow.
Balance all that out with the fact that you want to be a good teacher. You want to keep learning, growing and refining your craft, and are actually excited to learn new ways of dealing with the sometimes challenging students we have today? We need to redesign teacher professional development to fit into the world we have right now. We need to find some way of having ongoing staff development that gives us succinct, useful and easy-to-implement strategies in a way that teacher’s aren’t overwhelmed, and don’t have to do lesson plans!
Looking for the teacher PD courses, the best one I have found is something called 1 Minute Mastery. These are short videos, no more that 2 minutes long, that teachers get once a week. They all give research-based strategies in one of 5 different categories: Getting and Keeping Attention, Connecting and Engaging, Facilitating and Presenting, Teaching and the Learning Environment, and Teacher Self Care.
Check out more 1 Minute Mastery videos at 212creatived.com .For less than the cost of a hamburger, you can get a 1 Minute Mastery video each week for the entire year! Good luck with your ongoing professional development journey!