The words “professional development” have been known to strike fear into the hearts of novice and veteran teachers alike, as they conjure images of either sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours as the presenter reads slide after slide of information or being forced to interact awkwardly with a group of strangers to accomplish ‘hands-on’ activities. Something that has become evident during this course is that we as educators should not only rethink our students’ learning environments, but our professional learning environments as well. We certainly no longer hold the belief that students should be subjected to hours of passive sit-and-get learning, so why shouldn't that apply to adult learners as well?
According to the Center for Public Education (Gulamhussein, 2013), The 5 Key Principles of Effective Professional Learning include duration, support, active learning, modeling, and specificity. In the last few years, professional learning has become ever more engaging in that it has been designed for a specific audience and included active learning. However, the factors that are still missing from even the most innovative sessions are duration, ongoing support, and modeling. By adding these elements, we can increase the chance that teachers will truly integrate the new information or strategy into their classrooms, thereby changing campus culture and learning environments. As I move forward with my Join the Club innovation plan, the first step will be to involve the 4-H Club leaders in the PBL design process. They will experience project-based learning firsthand as they become familiar with the COVA framework in a blended learning environment. Using the STEAM/Robotics Club as a model and by providing as needed follow up and support, the 4-H Clubs will work to integrate PBL in the 2021-2022 academic year.
References Center for Public Education, & Gulamhussein, A. G. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/system/files/2013-176_ProfessionalDevelopment.pdf