Creating Sustainable Professional Development With Built-In Follow-Up Support

By on July 29, 2012 in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, Teacher Training Workshops

Just back from conducting follow-up consulting for a school where I had conducted science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teacher training sessions. The teachers participated in 12 hours of STEM training Teacher Training Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowskiin April, 2012. The teachers would then implement STEM investigations that they were introduced to during the April training during a two week summer STEM program for elementary students. I was elated to see how successful the summer STEM program was during my follow-up visit which took place during the second week of the camp. It was evident that both the teachers and students were thoroughly enjoying exploring STEM concepts via conducting hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based investigations. A major component of the teacher training in April was introducing the teachers to reflective journaling, and having the teachers practice reflective journaling during the STEM training sessions. It was evident that the students really enjoyed recording their own thoughts, drawings, data collection in their reflective journals. I conduct hundreds of teacher training/ professional staff development sessions every year, and unfortunately, very few districts and/or schools build in follow-up training as part of the initial training. I’m a firm believer that teacher training must be on-going and year-round, versus “shot-in-the arm” training. To create sustainable professional development districts and schools should build in follow-up consulting and or additional training for teachers. I always tell my clients that their teachers are welcomed to contact me after the trainings with any questions or problems they may have in when they  implement STEM and science investigations within their own classrooms. To have that additional observational and consultative piece built into the training helps to create sustainable professional development. I’ve attached photos of teachers designing and building self-contained eco-systems during the April training, as well as photos of the students undertaking the same investigation during the summer STEM camp. Desigining, building and maintaining self-contained eco-systems was one of many investigations teachers introduced during the STEM summer camp.Student writes in reflective journal about their self-contained ecosystem during STEM summer camp.