You know how you learn something that is so important that you wish that you could go back and erase about 10,000 things from the past so that you can do them right?
Well, I feel that way about planning professional development. My approach has always been that ‘more is more’ and that in order for a teacher to learn to do whatever it is that I am trying to teach them, they have to know EVERYTHING and EVERY NUANCE of that thing.
What I’ve come to realize (and it’s taken me, ummm…oh, just 14 years to realize it!) is that I need to give teachers the least amount of information that I can get away with so that they can quickly carry things back to the classroom and get started.
Here are the six questions I now ask myself when I am teaching anything to any educator:
- What will trip people up?
- What are the five parts of the thing I’m teaching that they absolutely have to learn?
- What is the order that the things in #2 above should logical be taught and learned in?
- What is the best way to learn each of the steps? Should we read about it? Model it? Practice in the training room? Watch a video?
- What is the least amount of training that we can provide or get away with?
- What skills have teachers already developed that we can hook this new thing to so it doesn’t feel brand new?