Share the Learning with Others

As a principal, I try very hard to send a team of teachers to workshops, conferences, and other staff development opportunities that I think will benefit them and our students. They always come back saying they have learned a lot, but I see little evidence that they’ve actually implemented much of what they tell me they learned. I’m beginning to think that I shouldn’t spend the money on such things anymore.

Helping teachers find opportunities to stretch and grow is part of every instructional leaders responsibilities. Sending teachers to professional growth opportunities is important, but just as important is finding ways to hold teachers accountable for implementation of their new knowledge and skills. Before the next team goes, ask them how they will share and apply what they will learn. This simple question signals your expectations. Be prepared to brainstorm some ideas with them. Here are some ideas you might share:

·    Share with one other teacher in the same grade level or department.

·    Make a presentation to the staff at the next faculty meeting regarding what they learned.

·    Prepare a set of lesson plans for all teachers to use.

·    Model a lesson based on what they learned and invite all interested teachers in their building to observe.

·    Prepare a videotape of a model lesson that could be shared with teachers in their building and in the district.

·    Write about what they learned for the school, staff, or district newsletter.

·    Create an ongoing study group on the topic that was the subject of the conference or workshop.

These ideas will convey to your staff that staff development is not a day away from school, but a valuable opportunity that comes with a commitment to share with others and to transfer that learning into practice.