I’ve been doing some work recently with Janet Hale, who is a national staff developer around Curriculum Mapping. We talk often about the intersection of content, skills, assessment, and standards and how teachers need to understand the components of designing curriculum around those areas, versus just being involved in curriculum practice.
I’ve been thinking about this in terms of staff development, particularly around technology, and specifically around how staff developers can KNOW that a particular new tool or resource is being used beyond the workshop. In essence, what evidence are we collecting to prove that what we are doing is being used/implemented or having an impact on student achievement?
In the classroom, a teacher has an action plan to help kids understand the standards-based content. Likewise, a staff developer would have an action plan to help others understand a new pedagogical frame using and integrating technology. In the classroom, we determine what kids know and are able to do through assessment, both formative and summative, but how do we assess impact with staff development?
One of the problems, obviously, is the “Drive By” model of staff development, where we go into a school for a day, deliver instruction, perhaps have some guided and independent practice, and then leave. Once the workshop is over, and speaking beyond initial motivation and engagement, what is the real impetus for change, and how do we know that successful change (sustained change) has occurred?
In the team that I work on, we’ve discussed this frequently and brainstorm ideas about how to tackle the issue. Part of the solution is moving to a “coaching” type model, where we do initial instruction around a particular new skill or resource, then continue to develop and hone the skill over a period of time, one-on-one, or with subsequent workshop opportunities. We also do one-on-one type “partner” training where we would help teachers develop AND implement a lesson around technology, then include a reflection piece to understand what did or didn’t work and use that information to help drive future instruction.
What other ideas are out there? What else is working for Staff Developers? If you are a teacher, what kind of sustainability model would work best for you? Feel free to leave answers/comments here by clicking on "Comments."