Can't we have some good training?

As I'm writing this, I'm not thinking about planning lessons or grading papers. I'm not thinking about my master's thesis or all of the work I have to do to get my lab ready for the next semester.

As I'm writing this, I'm not thinking about planning lessons or grading papers. I'm not thinking about my master's thesis or all of the work I have to do to get my lab ready for the next semester. I'm plotting how I'm going to hide tomorrow during our day of professional development so that I can actually get some work done.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against the idea of professional development. As teachers, we have a responsibility to grow and learn, and then pass our new and improved skills onto our students. Our training tomorrow, however, happens to be a second round on the Collins Writing Method.

This is actually a pretty well-thought-out bit of training, but it focuses on ways to step kids through the writing process. By the time our students get to high school, there are very few of us who believe that this particular type of writing will be of much assistance and we've developed both advance and remedial approaches of our own.

What the teachers consistently ask for instead is training on how to integrate technology into the curriculum. The want to fully exploit our student information system, course management systems, and installed software.

They want to be as savvy as the students and be able to give them activities that are engaging, interactive, and otherwise "technological" in a way that kids can understand and use.

I've said before in this blog that we need to be guides for our students, teaching them to use technology in responsible and effective ways. Yet if only a handful of us understand the existing technology (to say nothing of future trends) well enough to exploit it ourselves, then we aren't going to make very good guides.

Elementary and middle school teachers certainly need training in this area as well. However, by high school (and even into the 2- and 4-year college level), training and professional development for instructors must address these needs.

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