Photo above: The Hertford Bridge in Oxford, England. Used by Permission. © Tom Ley 01302 782837

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Differentiating Professional Development

The other day I took the plunge and upgraded my phone. I have to admit, learning how to use this new device is far more complicated than the one I got four years ago. As I have struggled to learn all the new features, I did not like the feeling of being a complete novice all over again! Of course it did not help when my 9 year old took my old phone and without directions from me, found the camera and began snapping pictures!

In his book “Closing the Global Achievement Gap” Tony Wagner discusses how different kids are today. In fact, this “net generation” is accustomed to instant gratification and being “always-on” with respect to connection. They love creating and multitasking in our multimedia world. They learn from their peers, want adults who don’t talk down to them and their work needs to be worthwhile and interesting.

With all the differences in children today, how does the teacher keep up? It begins with continuous learning and is dependent upon professional development meeting the needs of the teachers who attend. Although professional development has come a long way, many sessions are still sit and get sessions. In fact, just last year I attended a session at a national conference in which the presenter read through his paper on the topic! The description of the session described we would be doing activities we could use in the classroom. How is reading the same as doing?

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