Last week, I presented some suggestions for teacher librarians who set goals for providing appropriate PD opportunities within a school community or district. As you begin to frame your goals, you may want to access some techniques and strategies for best practice in professional learning for adult learners, and I would like to share some timely resources that might influence your planning.
Find out about instructional coaching:
Professional learning has become a job embedded practice in many school districts across the nation, and many teacher librarians have stepped into professional development roles, either intentionally, or by serendipity, on a “just in time” basis. To be successful, it helps to understand the overarching goal for PD in your school, and to work within the model. The trend in PD is away from the “sit and git” inservice days to personalizing professional learning for teachers through instructional coaches, and teacher driven collaborative and reflective practice. There may be instructional coaches in your school and district, and you may be able to work with them in assisting with personalized professional learning with members of the faculty. Sometimes, instructional coaches are experts in content or curricula, such as literacy, math, or science. Sometimes their focus is on pedagogy or technology integration, or all of the above, depending on the particular educators’ professional learning interests. Before you reach out to instructional coaches, take some time to find out about concepts and models for instructional coaching, so that you can “talk the talk and walk the walk.”
Recently on the Edutopia Blog, Schools That Work, there have been some posts about the instructional coaching model in the Albermarle County (VA) School District. The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Pam Moran, has garnered national attention for providing leadership for innovation and change in the district to the benefit of the students and the teachers.
Here’s the link that shows what is happening in Albermarle County Schools. There’s a list of links to videos and information about several topics that are of interest to teacher librarians, and a couple are highlighted below.
- Instructional Coaching: Watch and listen to the video, and browse the tabs: Overview, How It’s Done, and Resources http://www.edutopia.org/practice/instructional-coaching-seeding-district-wide-innovation
- Librarians Changing Roles Inspire School Communities http://www.edutopia.org/blog/librarians-changing-roles-inspire-schools-melissa-techman
Visit the Albermarle County School District website to learn more about the instructional coaching model: https://www2.k12albemarle.org/dept/instruction/instructional-coaching/Pages/default.aspx
Find out what has worked for others:
My second recommendation for exploring successful models for professional development practice is Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. (2012) Even though it was published three years ago-my where did those three years go-it remains a go to resource for teacher librarians. Not only is it packed with useful ideas, it is entertaining reading! Edited by Debbie Abilock, Kristin Fontichario, and Violet Harada, it is a must have for your shelves, if you don’t have it already. Many of the contributors to the book are leaders in the field of school librarianship, including BACC co-blogger, Judi Moreillon, who has written a chapter on customized professional development.
According to Kristin Fontichario, in a article published in School Library Monthly (2013):
For nearly two years Debbie Abilock, Violet Harada, and I have worked with approximately a dozen librarians, classroom educators, and administrators to document their unique professional development stories… the book’s contributors showed us that professional development can be effective in multiple school cultures, in multiple modalities for delivery, with librarians of different personalities and preferences, and in various curriculum areas and foci (2013, 47).
Here’s a link to the publisher’s information about the book:
Order it soon for your own professional learning! Do you have more recommendations to share?
Abilock, Debbie, Kristin Fontichario, and Violet Harada, eds. Growing Schools: Librarians as Professional Developers. Libraries Unlimited, 2012. http://www.abc-clio.com/LibrariesUnlimited/product.aspx?pc=A3723P
Edutopia: Schools That Work Case Study. “Innovation and Risk Taking Across a District.” Web Log. http://www.edutopia.org/school/albemarle-county-public-schools. 28 Sept. 2015.
Fontichario, Kristin. “Librarians As Professional Developers.” School Library Monthly 29.8 (2013): 47-48. Library Literature & Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Image: Judith Kaplan Collection