3 tips for maximizing the impact of professional learning

It’s one thing to attend a professional training or coaching session – but taking what you’ve learned and putting it into practice is another. Most often, these are the biggest differences of experience based on cooperation, reflection and active change.

My time as a classroom educator helped me realize the passion of helping fellow teachers learn and grow. It inspired the mission to turn professional learning into something that focuses on teacher collaboration, learning and continuation.

With this in mind, I have compiled the following tips on how to get the most out of professional learning and coaching.

# 1 Accept the experience

When I first switched from a teacher to a coach, I remember being frustrated by the lack of impact that my professional development and coaching provided. This is because it was your typical “sit and take” experience where participants learned something at the time, but probably forgot it once the session was over. While coaching, I watched the teachers and “provided feedback” on what I saw – while teachers were often receptive to new ideas to try, any change was often short-lived.

This lack of impact is what led me to push the use of video to improve our professional education and coaching sessions. I would let the participants choose one thing they learned to try in class, I would have them recorded and then use the video for self-reflection. I built in time so we could work together so we could exchange ideas and discuss what worked in the classroom and what didn’t. With the ones I trained, I recorded when I visited, and I gave them time to see what I saw and let them lead the conversation based on their own thoughts and questions.

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