Professional Development should be Learner-Centered | Devin Vodicka | 3 Min Read

When I was new in my role as Director of Curriculum and Instruction one of my first projects was to organize the districtwide professional development days before the start of the school year.  I started planning in July for two days in August and quickly found that I could not secure enough trainers to do small groups for all of the educators in the district.  To resolve this challenge, I arranged to have a couple of speakers who would give extended keynote addresses to large groups of teachers.  

From my perspective, the results were disastrous.  Many of the teachers paid little to no attention and they appeared far more interested in socializing with their colleagues.  I surveyed the teachers afterwards and found that they were less inspired and less confident in their abilities as a result of the training.  The painful feedback was ample motivation to take a more inclusive, engaging, and flexible approach from that point forward. 

Unfortunately, my failure in organizing this event is symptomatic of what is often experienced in education.  While an insightful talk can be fabulous (see the success of TED, for example), the reality is that one-time, disconnected trainings that lack interactivity and…

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Devin Vodicka

Devin Vodicka is the CEO of Learner-Centered Collaborative and the author of Learner-Centered Leadership. He is also three-time California superintendent of the year (2016 AASA, 2015 ACSA, 2015 Pepperdine), Innovative Superintendent of the Year (2014 Classroom of the Future Foundation), and nine-time White House invitee, both in recognition for district-wide achievement, and to advise and partner with the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Educational Technology and Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools.