Teacher learning is a critical element for successful curriculum design–when a school or district commits to developing core curriculum internally, each individual contributor more than ever impacts the quality of the team’s curriculum output. It’s an important concept on which to reflect when tackling a schoolwide program–the wide range of skills and aptitudes brought to the table (subject standards, state standards, customization, knowledge, tech literacy, instructional design and practice of rigorous curriculum theory) for curriculum design will vary widely from novice to expert from teacher to teacher, and within the same school.
We can’t rely only on the top tier star teachers to do the heavy lifting for the school, everyone needs to be empowered with PD to best contribute.
Similar to designing tracks for struggling students to get to mastery, it’s important that teacher contributors wherever possible receive high-quality curriculum training, whether it’s on site, online or blended. And for even better retention, be able to revisit and share concepts and ideas with their team members, on demand. Group work works for adults too! On a wider scale, administrators and their principals are tackling district wide curriculum collaboration, and the need for consistent PD is subsequently even higher. Some other ideas to improve teacher training:
Can those who receive hands-on training become a trainer themselves? Pace the training to be delivered over time, where teachers can practice theories and ask questions in between training sessions.
Eduplanet21 offers PD at several levels to provide flexibility to schools. Our Enterprise PLUS subscription to our curriculum platform provides an all-access pass to a catalog of [number of LP’s] high-quality Learning Paths. Topics including 21st century skills, social and emotional learning, teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students. You have access to high-quality trainers that you usually only see at expensive conferences, on demand: Jay McTighe, Bena Kallick, Allison Zmuda, Amy Heineke, and other specialists.
Because Eduplanet21’s curriculum design platform is uniquely licensed for the Understanding by Design approach co-created by Jay McTighe, it’s essential that enough of the staff understands and can practice the techniques to share with teachers who may have had less exposure. The concept of Backwards Design is especially counterintuitive to most traditional design processes. However, once teachers understand and practice the benefits of participation and critical thinking and learn the stages that make this process such a powerful learning experience for students, PD can help build confidence for them to become enthusiastic participants and hopefully trainers and evangelists for other teachers in their school and departments.