Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Teacher development for the 21st century

A little while back, I raised the topic of teacher professional development and training in the 21st century as part of my involvement in the TED-ED Brain Trust.  The framework of my thread was that given the changes and expected student outcomes in the 21st century (collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, etc.), shouldn’t there be at least an equal emphasis on redesigning or refocusing our teacher training programs?

I have had good responses and the topic is somewhat “hot” on the TED-ED Forum.  Many responders talk about the role of technology in teacher development.  I think that is a given and not necessarily innovative.  After all, many teachers engage in technologically based PD on a daily basis – they blog, Tweet, take course, etc.  What I found missing was some insights in to the objectives of teacher PD for the 21st century.

After reflecting on this topic for a number of days, I have the following items to suggest.  All of them, as I see it, are part of the redesign of teacher development for the 21st century.  Feel free to add to the list as it is not intended to be exhaustive.

Professional Development for the 21st century?

1.  How to nurture a love for learning in your class while preparing students to "stand and deliver" on tests (let us assume standardized testing is not going anywhere in the near future)

2.  Teachers as communication experts (written and oral) and relationship builders - emphasis on human resource frame thinking (see Bolman and Deal, 2003)

3.  Educators as drivers of productive, ethical, and positive social networking

4.  Stressing the difference between collaboration/collegiality and congeniality

5.  Measuring and developing creativity and critical thinking skills of the teacher as standard operation in PD

6.  Redirect training from what students should learn to how students learn best

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