Special Report: Blind Spots in Teacher Professional Development

Professional development: It happens every year, for every teacher. And yet there’s broad agreement among those who participate that it often—very often—misses the mark. The trainings fail to take teachers’ prior knowledge and experience into account, or use instructional techniques that wouldn’t work with students. The things teachers say they want to learn—how to recover when a lesson goes south, how to recognize their own biases and design activities that reach all learners—are often overlooked. And even when teachers get PD in topics they know are important, like trauma-informed teaching and suicide prevention, the sessions are crammed in amid a growing list of training requirements, and can end up feeling shallow.

For this special report, we let the ground-level experts lead the way, asking teachers what they saw as PD blind spots and then digging in on causes and solutions. It seems clear there will never be a perfect system for professional development. But by taking stock periodically of what’s not been working, or been overlooked, schools can work toward a better vision for professional learning.


Special Report: Blind Spots in Teacher Professional Development

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There’s broad agreement among teachers that professional development very often misses the mark. But by listening to teachers and taking a hard, periodic look, schools can work toward a system that’s both manageable and meaningful.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

Teachers say that training sessions too often don’t respect their experience, expertise, or time.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

Teachers and professional development providers weigh in on three frustrating PD practices and how to change them.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

When a lesson falls flat, it can be tough to recover and move on. Teachers say they’d like training in how to do so.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

The biggest impediment to professional change might just be what you already know.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

Implicit-bias training goes further than asking teachers to understand their students’ backgrounds. It asks teachers to look at themselves.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

Many English-learners and students with disabilities spend lots of time in the general education classroom, and yet teachers there often lack training in how to meet their needs
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

Growing requirements for trainings on non-academic issues—everything from food allergies to sexual assault—have made it hard for schools and teachers to keep up.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

A former Disney World employee who now trains teachers outside Wichita, Kan., aims to give professional learning “elements of surprise and delight.”
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

Education Week asked teachers what they saw as the biggest blind spots in teacher professional development. Here’s what they said.
May 15, 2019 – Education Week

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