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I’m not a fan of traditional staff in-service. I know that people are doing their best. However, it can be hit or miss, because it’s often stuck in a format or in a topic that doesn’t fit who I am. Here are eight alternatives that I would love to see:

  1. Book Clubs: I’m often amazed by how many teachers will gripe about doing extra homework, but are more than happy to read a book on their own and join a conversation about it. Book clubs allow people to go in-depth into concepts in a way that is both personal and social; independent and interdependent.
  2. A Chat: It’s tricky to navigate the at-school and out-of-school aspects social media. However, I would love to have both a site-based and global chat during inservice.
  3. EdCamp: I love the democratic aspect of “unconforences.” I would love to learn from the people around me through an ongoing dialogue based upon our interests and our shared expertise.
  4. Courses: Allow specialists, administrators and teachers develop full courses that last a semester. This would then allow for coaches to go in-depth in conversations, modeling and observations.
  5. Online Courses: I wish I could spend Thursday afternoon taking an online class (or an online/offline hybrid class). I would love to do a project together.
  6. Independent Project: It might be too much to go with a 20% time with staff members. However, what would it be like if teachers could create their own learning? For example, I would love to create a proposal, read journal articles and develop something as a result.
  7. Action Research: What would it look like if teachers actually committed to a long-term action research project? How would that reshape the way we view data and research?
  8. Make Resources: I’m not referring to planning lessons, per se. Nor am I looking for data digs. I’m wondering what it would look like to develop real resources that we use. I think it would be cool, for example, to make visual prompts or “what can you do with it?” math prompts with teachers.

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John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.More about me

One Comment

  • A proper dividing line between developmentally oriented vs implement oriented PD. When I am 'told to' vs 'inspired' to choose an initiative, the spontaneity makes or breaks what I get out of it.
    What a tremendous metaphor of intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation we seek to, and even sometimes achieve, with our students.

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