and The Teacher Experience
In order for teachers to be successful in their roles, they must be empowered to concentrate their time, energy, and expertise on individual students’ needs. Not only must their roles be made more flexible, the means through which they receive relevant professional development throughout their careers must also be relevant and flexible.
Pre-service training to focus on personalized learning
Teacher training that occurs during the undergraduate and graduate school years for an emerging teacher is critical to success in the classroom.
What are the challenges?
There are presently few options and little to no requirements for beginning teachers in Delaware to receive training in personalized learning practices, such as blended learning or competency-based learning.
Adapt higher education and preservice training and mentoring programs to reflect the new roles teachers may play in their classrooms in personalized learning models and the use of technology to facilitate personalized instruction.
Revise Comprehensive Induction Program for new teachers to one that supports teachers in the use of personalized learning in instruction.
Set aside funding for excellent teachers to serve as mentors who train new teachers in personalized learning.
Place new teachers with highly effective teachers who personalize learning and who are able to serve as one-on-one mentors throughout the new teacher mentoring program.
Collaborate with college/university leaders to improve the selection process for placing student teachers with cooperating teachers, and increase student teaching requirements, as well as length of time spent teaching for student teachers.
Like all professionals, teachers must be exposed to high-quality, relevant, and job embedded training that occurs throughout the duration of their careers. In Delaware, all K-12 public school teachers have access to an online professional development portal called the Professional Development Management System.
There are presently over forty five online courses available to teachers for the purpose of teacher licensure and professional development clock hours.
Why are these professional development opportunities important to personalized learning and the teacher experience?
Interactive and engaging personalized professional development allows teachers to participate in professional development that is relevant to their instructional area on their own time and at their own pace. This kind of training allows for teachers to be trained by experts across district, city, state, and even national lines. It keeps teachers in the classroom, instead of having to leave the school, for trainings. As the program becomes more widely used, it will be important that more courses are offered by expert teachers from across the state, in areas that are traditionally under enrolled—such as trainings for students with low incidence special needs.
Innovative, Personalized Professional Development
Professional development is an integral part of a teacher’s career; high quality professional development is vital for student success. Professional development can take many shapes— from being face to face, to online, to hybrid – and it can be over the course of one hour or an entire semester.In Delaware, most PD occurs as face-to-face, “standand-deliver” format; with some options available online.
What are the challenges?
- In order to effectively implement innovative, personalized instruction for every student, a parallel system of personalized professional development for educators must exist.
- Much of the PD offerings in Delaware are not flexible, engaging, or specific to special populations
- There is presently an online system for PD that Delaware districts can use; however, it is highly underutilized and underadvertised by districts
- Delaware teachers are underutilized in developing and teaching PD across the state. Leveraging technology to personalize PD is one way to encourage educators to develop and share PD resources with their peers.
Offer professional development opportunities that can be shared across districts in the state, including live sessions and licensed software.
Offer time for professional development in addition to planning and preparation time.
Utilize existing state-owned/managed online PD systems (e.g., Blackboard, eLearning Delaware) to expand content offerings personalized to specific needs of individual teachers.
Develop a culture of continuous learning, driven by the personal needs of educators, with opportunities for educators to lead their peers in sharing knowledge about personalized learning.
TEACHER EVALUATION THAT PROMOTES PERSONALIZED LEARNING
What are the challenges?
- DPAS-II evaluators may not always receive sufficient training to evaluate and offer constructive feedback on how to infuse personalized learning strategies into the classroom, particularly for teachers in specialized content areas.
- Districts have the flexibility to train peer teachers to serve as credentialed DPAS-II observers; however, few districts have pursued this option.
Realign the teacher evaluation system to one in which teachers are encouraged to critically analyze their own performance through videotaped lessons and student/parent perception surveys.
Empower teachers to become credentialed DPAS-II observers of their peers, leveraging their experience and expertise to provide feedback and help teachers reflect on the connection between personalized learning and student outcomes.
What it Looks Like:
THE Personalized Learning Classroom
we’re not “just” teachers
differentiated educator roles
In the current system, teachers serve as tutors, mentors, instructors, group facilitators, data analysts, project managers, coaches, and in other roles.Differentiating the role of educators would divide these many functions into several distinct, official roles.
Differentiated educator roles encourage innovation in the classroom while capitalizing on the unique strengths of individual educators. Differentiated educator roles also allow the role of the teacher to be much more adaptive—allowing teachers to lead from the classroom instead of leaving it for other opportunities. They give teachers increased flexibility in how they address the individual needs of their students.
What are the challenges?
Schools and districts presently do not have much flexibility and have not acted to create differentiated educator roles beyond the traditional roles.
Extend the reach of excellent teachers by redesigning the traditional role of the teacher and creating new roles that allow these teachers to take on new responsibilities and cultivate new skills.
Expand the Teacher of Record requirement to allow for excellent teachers to reach the greatest number of students using new technological platforms that enable teachers to expand their reach across schools and districts.
Reassess how schools receive funding to make sure that funding is allocated based upon students’ needs. Allow excellent teachers to teach a greater number of students when best practices and technology allow for a structured personalized learning environment.
Create memorandums of understanding between districts that would allow teachers to offer courses between school districts as digital learning labs; student-teacher ratios should be flexible and able to adapt to technological advancements occurring in the classroom based on best practices.
Click here for more information on Project L.I.F.T., and opportunity culture.
Differentiated Roles Give Teachers Greater Flexibility with their most precious resource: their time.
What challenges or obstacles do you face in implementing any of the instructional practices that support personalized learning?
81 percent of respondents agreed that time is the single greatest challenge they face in implementing personalized learning.
Source: 2014 RTC Teacher Personalized Learning Survey