Is it Time for a Professional Development Retrospective?

With the direction technology is taking our culture as a whole, it has become even more important to offer ongoing professional development opportunities to your faculty and staff. Sometimes, however, professional development only seems to take a forward-looking perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the tools and skills faculty still need to learn.

There’s also value in taking a retrospective look at professional development, which will allow you to assess the effectiveness of existing professional development and ensure that you move forward in the most efficient way possible.

Assess Where You Are

Before you put any future professional development opportunities in place, take a look at where you are today. Ask:

  • What types of opportunities did you offer over the current school year?
  • How have they worked?
  • What feedback did you receive?
  • How are lessons learned being used in the classroom?

Identify the Gaps

Once you’ve started to take a look at what you have in place, the next step is to discover what was missed. Identify what missed the mark. Whether its technology implementation or curriculum redesign, if you’re unaware of the missing pieces, the professional development you offer in the future won’t be useful. Here are a few questions you can ask:

  • What are you struggling to accomplish?
  • What areas aren’t being addressed?
  • Have you asked others, such as students or parents, for feedback?

Make an Action Plan

After you’ve identified the gaps, you can start creating an action plan for future professional development and training. Any new professional development should be built upon the gaps you’ve identified to ensure that you’re addressing existing needs before you move on to other areas. Be sure to include a resource for accountability in your action plan. This will help you check back to see whether you’re actively addressing the challenges you identified in previous steps.