The below is taken, in part, from a post at the Microsoft Educator Network.
Every year, Training Magazine honors the Training Top 125 winners—organizations with the most successful learning and development programs in the world. Missing from the list? School districts.
Districts are the biggest employers—but apparently not the best when it comes to training. Yet every district has plenty of professional development, and every district is focused on teacher effectiveness through the teacher evaluation push. Perhaps the focus is too much on evaluation.
It’s not that we’re not spending money on training to help educators perform better in the classroom; we’re doing it ineffectively.
Much of the investment in the current teacher effectiveness drive in the U.S. is focused on one of three things: 1) Establishing a new system of measuring teachers. 2) Training principals to measure teachers in the new way. 3) Identifying ways of tying the new evaluation to student achievement results. It is rarely on efforts to actually develop teachers.
According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation study, Targeted Research on Users of iPD: Key Learnings, teachers believe PD is important, yet they “do not believe PD is effective, as it is not part of a coherent plan and does not improve their teaching.”
So, what do the Training Top 125 companies focus on?
“Demonstrable results, progress of programs, innovation, success factors, training strategically linked to business goals, corporate commitment to training, [and] the potential applicability of best practices companywide….”
With this in mind, I think school districts should first focus on three critical areas: 1) Innovation 2) Training strategically linked to district goals, and 3) The application of best practices district wide.
A renewed focus on helping educators meet the needs of their students would help lower teacher attrition, increase knowledge and skills, and elevate the status of the profession.
In education, where 70-80% of budgets are spent on people, this approach should be even more important. It’s the only way we’re going to see the change we want to see in student achievement results.
If you could design a PD program for your school based around the standards of the Top 125 companies in Training Magazine, how would you?
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