Approaches to Leading Professional Learning

Most school leaders who I have the privilege to interact with highly value professional development. They wish to learn and grow themselves, and to support the learning and growth of the staff they lead. 

But deciding how to do that can  be difficult.  I most commonly hear two challenges regarding professional learning expressed by school leaders:

Challenge #1: How do I find the time (for myself and my staff) to engage in professional learning?  We have so many other tasks to do that professional learning never feels urgent enough to actually getting around to doing it.

Challenge #2: How do I ensure that professional learning is worth the time – useful, impacting, effective?  When we do engage in professional learning, the impact seems to be minimal. We all attend the sessions/program/course and then things basically carry on the way they were before.

The combination of these challenges can leave a school leader feeling stuck.

Over this series of blog posts I want to share with you some approaches to professional learning from various sources that I have recently been reading and reflecting on personally and with colleagues.  I do not share any of these as the answer to your challenges, but I hope they will inspire you to innovate an approach to professional learning for your context. Perhaps you will find one of these approaches particularly useful and choose to adopt it.  Perhaps you will combine elements of a few approaches, or use these approaches as a spring board for your thinking that creates an entirely new approach.

Use Multiple Approaches - Salia Khayoumi

Here are the approaches I intend to discuss:

  • Professional Learning Community
  • Reflective Practice
  • Instructional Coaching
  • Adaptive Expertise and Professional Conversations
  • Action Research

For each one, I will give a brief summary of the approach, share what I like most about the approach and what I think will be most challenging about it, and provide some links for investigating the approach further. Have you tried any of these approaches to professional learning?  Have you read about/experienced any other approach?  Share your ideas and experience in the comments below.

Networking with other Christian schools.
Should I let my students lead?
Approaches to Professional Learning #5: Action Research