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Professional Development Question

Professional Development Question

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What do educational leaders actually look for professional development proposals? We're interested in providing seminars for high school educator--at no cost to the school--based on strategies from our upcoming publication, Transparent Teaching of Adolescents. My co-authors and I (former students) are very excited about what we've accomplished, and ultimately, our goal is to help teachers use the methodology that we discovered in our classroom experience. Ideally, we'd want to cater the PD to the school's needs as opposed to a blanket approach. Thank you for any advice you might provide! Kind regards, Mindy and Students

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Mindy Keller- Kyriakides's picture
Mindy Keller- Kyriakides
High school english teacher and blogger.

So, I'm guessing the typos didn't help in garnering a response--ugh! However, the question is sincere. What do administrators want/need on a proposal for a PD?

Kevin Crosby's picture
Kevin Crosby
Educator and School Counselor / Trinidad School District #1

To whom do you plan to write a proposal? Your question is tough because soliciting for PD rarely works from what I can tell. Usually, a school has improvement goals and a plan, and then they seek out PD resources and activities toward those goals. If you want to get the word out to schools in your area, I would suggest including information about how your program meets criteria regarding best or evidence-based practices, and what the goals or objectives are for the program. In other words, why should my school devote precious time to your offer or proposal? Without specifics it is difficult to give you much more feedback.

Mindy Keller- Kyriakides's picture
Mindy Keller- Kyriakides
High school english teacher and blogger.

Your response is actually quite helpful. You stress the need for a structure or program. That's what we don't have! So, the marketing needs to be a bit more up-front, concrete, and less tailored. In other words, if someone wants the suit, they'll buy it off the rack. They don't want us to make the suit for them. We can work with that!

Thanks again!
Mindy and Students

Kevin Crosby's picture
Kevin Crosby
Educator and School Counselor / Trinidad School District #1

Yup. For example, what do you mean by "transparent" teaching? I'm kind of intrigued. What is transparent? The standards or goals or objectives? Or is it more about being "real" with students or something like that?

Mindy Keller- Kyriakides's picture
Mindy Keller- Kyriakides
High school english teacher and blogger.

Here's a potential definition! Let me know if it makes sense!

Secondary teachers, particularly new teachers, often get caught up in the exigency of a lesson as opposed to addressing the needs of the class as a unit of mindful individuals, the effects of which include, but are not limited to: student misbehavior and student apathy. (Those factors being the largest contributors to issues with learning gains and graduation rates.)

We are inherently subject-driven as educators, and as a result, we tend to just barge forward to make sure we get through the lesson. We experience a lack of situational awareness or mindfulness, and by doing so, we miss opportunities for students to learn more and learn more effectively. The effective secondary teacher never loses sight of the class as a layered experience for him/herself and students.

Transparent Teaching for high school students (as we define it) embraces the Matryoshka Principle in simultaneity. A good visual would be a set of glass Russian nesting dolls. At the core of the paradigm is the teacher persona and that individual's ability to convey a mature, warm, caring adult to teenagers, specifically.

The first layer ensures that at any given moment in the class experience, students are not only aware of the individual lesson objectives but also the connection to the greater objectives of the unit, the course, and their lives.

The next layer engages students in an explicit, recursive discourse that ensures they are aware of how they are learning and why they are learning.

The outermost layer entails how the teacher is teaching, but more importantly, HOW WELL the teacher is teaching them the objectives of the lesson, unit, course, and life. The evaluative nature of this layer is often excluded, but the use of it greatly enhances the class experience for both student and teacher.

It is teaching in "quadruplicate" in every lesson, every day (for those of us who remember what CC actually means!).

By virtue of the persona, pedagogy, and discourse, teachers and students work more authentically, collaboratively, and purposefully, thus increasing learning and decreasing teacher-stress. It's definitely not a new concept,but we hope that the understanding of the wholeness of teaching for new teachers, coupled with how to actually do it, is helpful in offsetting the issues they experience.

: )

Kevin Crosby's picture
Kevin Crosby
Educator and School Counselor / Trinidad School District #1

It makes sense to me. Here's a little free association or related references:

The old saying, they don't care what you know until they know that you care.

Biography-Driven Instruction ( focuses on ELL students, but I believe it is relevant to all. Know your students. Not just their achievement scores, but the students as human beings.

Invitational Education (

William Glasser's Choice Theory ( and more specifically, the idea that all experience is "filtered" through our knowledge and beliefs. Thus, each student has a unique experience of the same classroom.

Existentialist discussions of perception are also relevant here.

I wonder, though, why the teacher is in the center. How would the analogy or theory change if you put the student at the center? After all, the student perceives the classroom experience and the teacher is on the outside attempting to influence the student's perception by communicating objectives, engaging in discourse, and evaluating the learning process. So, there are many "dolls" each with unique layers, each with their own perceptions, and the trick for the teacher is to determine how to ensure each individual student feels safe, understands the purpose of the lesson, and finds the motivation to strive for mastery.

Mindy Keller- Kyriakides's picture
Mindy Keller- Kyriakides
High school english teacher and blogger.

Thanks for the links! I'll check them out!

The teacher is at the core only because it's written from the perspective of what the teacher can do towards more effective classroom practices. It's "Be the change you want to see" thinking for classroom management, which includes seeing students as individuals, among other things.

However, to see students as individuals and to put them first, the teacher has to (potentially) make a change in his/her philosophy or mode of thinking, i.e. him/herself. Many of the things we do we THINK puts the student first. However, students see it another way entirely. A large component of our book is built on what I did when I thought I was putting students' best interests, first, and I came to discover that approach was not received that way.

I agree we're on the outside, influencing students. However, we have to make sure that the "we" influencing them is doing so in a mature, warm, enthusiastic, passionate way. : )

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