One of the errors that I can see with professional development that is currently done in the school systems is taking what I would call a traditional approach.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ It is a train-the-trainer approach, where teachers aggregate in a central location to receive PD and it just does not work. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ The expectation is that once teachers receive professional development on a particular topic or curriculum document that they are going to go back and share this knowledge with their staff. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ This may or may not occur in various ways at the school level.
At the school the PD might occur as advice for approaching a particular topic, handing out a few papers summarizing the PD, or perhaps a short in-service or regurgitation of materials presented at various in-services. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ What can happen is a misinterpretation of the materials presented or just not informing other educators at all.
As consultants or resource teachers the types of communication modes that are available can be overwhelming.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ The key is to find a few different modes that you feel comfortable with and keep experimenting with new modes.
Try to include training materials in a learn-on-demand type of approach – create a podcast, screencast, or video of the PD event.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Make the PD available to all educators not just the ones that were able to make it out for the PD session, when they find it useful to them in their teaching.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Provide a method for continuing the lines of communication throughout the year, whether it is a del.icio.us account for sharing bookmarks on the topic, a discussion board, weblog, or an email list. Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ There should be continued discussion, but also a support network about the PD event.
Personally, I think it should be a requirement for any curriculum document or software product that is available in a school should already include multi-modal training resources and that does NOT mean a PDF manual.