| By Nicole Albrecht |
When a teacher hears the words “professional development” many questions race through their mind: “Will this take me away from my students? Does it relate to what I teach? Do I have a choice? Will it actually make me a better teacher?”
The questions are endless and often the answers are not ones that the teacher wishes to hear. As a former high school English and history teacher for almost a decade, I never attended a professional development (PD) session that related to me, my content, my students or my district. Wow, that’s a profound statement – but it is true. I saw PD as a waste of time and with many of the schools I taught at experiencing a substitute teacher shortage, it was putting my students at a disadvantage when I needed to leave the classroom to attend a PD conference. So, much of my development was taken into my own hands. I searched for new strategies online, read popular teacher blogs and purchased PD books on my own.
When I left the classroom and began curating eBook collections on GVRL at Gale, I saw it as my duty to teachers – and students – to find new PD publishers, content and solutions that could help them love PD again! As PD eBook collections on GVRL grew in popularity with customers, the requests became more specific. Customers started asking for solutions, such as finding content to support their strategic goals and objectives or evaluation frameworks. Last year, one of our department of education customers aligned two of our ASCD collections to The Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching.
This blew my mind because when I was teaching, I was evaluated by The Danielson Framework for Teaching and I always had a hard time finding resources that would connect to the domains and dimensions. Having engaging and relevant eBook content directly aligned with an evaluation tool makes PD so accessible, relevant and actionable. As the attention surrounding what our customer created grew, other customers wanted their PD collections aligned too. In fact, this specific PD alignment request came my way over the summer and I thought, “Yes, Gale can do this! But let’s ditch the PDF instructions and go digital.”
And just like that, PD plus framework alignments was born. View video below.
First, a team of certified teachers and other PD experts aligned eBooks in each of our collections to domains and dimensions of The Danielson Framework for Teaching. That’s hundreds of titles from dozens of collections featuring content from top publishers such as ASCD, Corwin, Dave Burgess Consulting and Solution Tree. Next, our education technology experts customized our GVRL interface to feature these alignments digitally. PD plus was created for educators by educators!
Now, I know what some teachers may be thinking, “This isn’t for me. This is for an administrator to use.” Which is true, it can be an administration tool. However, teachers can also use this tool and begin to see professional learning in a new light. One of my most memorable PD moments was when my principal sat down with me for my beginning of the year evaluation. She put The Danielson Framework for Teaching in front of me and asked, “Which area are you strong in and which are you weak in?” I was given a voice and a choice in picking a domain and dimension that I felt I needed to personally/professionally improve on – and you do, too. This is what this PD alignment is all about. Giving administrators the tools to effectively support their teachers in evaluation, while providing teachers the freedom to choose and grow.
Why wait? Learn more here.