More Effective Professional Development

by Dr. Will Henson

This is Professional Development month here at 321insight, and our focus is on helping people get better at delivering professional development to their staff. When Dr. Skip Greenwood and I started 321insight, we had a specific vision in mind when it comes to professional development.

First, we wanted to give people tools that made them more effective, right now.   To that end, we felt that the two+ hour-long trainings were a problem. That kind of time commitment is something few educators can do more than a couple times a year. This was especially important as we worked to develop material for paraeducators, who often had no extra contract time for professional development.  We settled on 5-10 minute training segments where the information we presented would give staff the most value, now. It can be viewed and processed quickly, which gives more time for practice and implementation.

Second, we really feel like people learn by doing rather than simply sitting and absorbing information. Most new skills that people learn are best furthered through practice.  For some skills, actually doing it is the best way to build it. For example, if you want to get better and helping students regulate their emotional response, then trying it is the path to get better.  In other situations, observing and tracking are great ways to train yourself to see opportunities and change perspectives.  For example, if you want staff to learn to look at behavior through a new lens, challenge them to find ways to practice noticing and changing their frame of mind on behaviors during the week.

We appreciate the dedication of educators in their professional development, and their desire to continually learn, grow, and change. Our goal is to facilitate those efforts, and make sure they are getting the most out of their professional development time.

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