Thursday, May 6, 2010

Top 10 Tips for Professional Development

"Professional development refers to skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement. Professional development encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities, ranging from college degrees to formal coursework, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in practice. It has been described as intensive and collaborative, ideally incorporating an evaluative stage [1] There are a variety of approaches to professional development, including consultation, coaching, communities of practice, lesson study, mentoring, reflective supervision and technical assistance. (wikipedia)"

PD is a huge part of any educator's life. We as teachers are always teaching/leading others and always learning ourselves. W/ that being said I decided to give my top ten tips that I use when doing Professional Development. As any list this is subjective and open for debate, I'd love to hear what tools that others use that they find successful.

Top Ten Tips for Professional Development
  1. Flexibility - Not only a great skill for PD but teaching as well. You always want a backup plan just in case something is not working, ie the internet.
  2. Knowledge - It's very important to have a vast knowledge of the topic you're teaching. You don't have to be a "jedi master" but at least be able to answer the majority of questions.
  3. Confidence - This goes along w/ knowledge, nothing is more uncomfortable for the audience then watching somebody who looks like they don't deserve/want to be there.
  4. Innovation - I find it very important to use a variety of tools and present information in a new way to keep your audience engaged.
  5. Organization - An organized presentation will make the presenter's life that much easier!
  6. Resources - One of the things I pride myself on is giving the audience something tangible that they can take back w/ them or download (ie, digital books, CD, etc.).
  7. Creativity - This goes hand and hand w/ innovation and helps keeps audience engaged and wanting more. The traditional Powerpoint presentation is no longer realistic for a 21st Century audience.
  8. Humility - There is nothing that bothers me more then watching a presentation/educator who thinks they are a "know-it-all". We can always learn more especially from each other. That is exactly what developing a Personal Learning Network is all about. It's vital for a presenter to be open to constructive criticism and be good at self reflection.
  9. Humor - It's always nice to be able to open up in front of a large crowd and there is nothing better then having a sense of humor. Remember not to change who you are when presenting but be your self and let your natural sense of humor shine through!!
  10. Availability - It is always nice to be available to your audience for networking/answering questions at any time. Make yourself available and approachable to help strengthen your skill set.
There are many masters of professional development but a few that come to mind right off the bat are: Naomi Harm, Kevin Honeycutt, and Shelly Terrell. I recommend familiarizing yourself w/ these excellent educators to learn from some of the industry's best!!


  1. Hi David,
    I like your ideas. I'd like to add e-PD+P to your list, which represents professional development planning through electronic portfolios. You can find more about my thoughts here on my blog at

  2. Hi David,
    I appreciate your comments and the way they are organized. They apply nicely to my experiences. Perhaps we could add something about focusing on student learning. Too often we can get caught up in showing off our own knowledge, particularly of the newest big 'thing', instead of giving teachers what they and their students really want and need.

  3. Hi,
    The FLEXIBILITY point is very appropriate because it helps one in adjusting in every type of environment. The other 9 points are ingredients for developing an individual professionally. Thanks Sirin, your link has made my concepts clear.
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