Let’s face it: professional development can be boring and teachers can lose focus more often than not. Sometimes they briefly tune out to look at their phone or leave for a while, but sometimes they completely tune out and hide behind their laptops to grade student work, plan lessons, catch up on emails, or do some online shopping during the session!
How can teachers stay motivated during professional development?
Can a PD session be inspiring and motivating?
Yes, it can! Faculty professional development can be motivating and energizing when purposefully designed with a balance of learning new information and adequate time to process it! Information overload during professional development is what leads teachers to tune out.
Balance of new information and ‘processing’ time
There needs to be a balance of new information and processing time. The right balance depends on a variety of factors, such as the goal of the workshop, the nature of the new content presented, but it is safe to say that a 50/50 split might be appropriate most of the time. There could be times when a 20/80 split is more appropriate (20% new content, 80% processing time).
Differentiated instruction is key
Similarly to our students, teachers will benefit from a variety of interactive and relevant experiences that engage the visual, audio and kinesthetic learner. Differentiating your PD this way will ensure that teachers stay tuned in and engaged. Allowing teachers to reflect on how they can apply what they just learned is very important. Doing this in small groups or with a partner has the added value of peer dialogue and collaboration. Having teachers participate or role-play in activities that they can then teach to their students further enhances the likelihood of their staying focused!
Data supports the need for reflection and peer conversation
Our participant surveys indicate that teachers want to be able to think about and reflect on what they are learning in the session during the session and not after. 92% of our participants agreed or strongly agreed with this and only 8% of our participants were ‘neutral’. Our data indicates that 83% of teachers believe in the benefits of peer conversations during these workshops.
Successful faculty development isn’t just about the content; it’s about creating an environment that nurtures enthusiasm and collaboration among educators. When faculty members are invested, feel valued, motivated, and empowered, students benefit from improved teaching and learning experiences.