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PD was wonderful

November 7, 2007 am30 8:53 am

Teachers from several schools gathered. We broke into departments, and then broke into courses. Where there were a lot of teachers for one course, we broke into smaller groups of about 10-12 teachers. Each smaller group had a few senior teachers (and more beginners).

Some people from each group had material prepared in advance. All of us (prepared or not) had a bit less than ten minutes to hold the floor – either to share something nice we do, or to ask questions. Some teachers gave handouts. After a break we moved into another course, and after lunch we moved into a third.

We had a bit of time at the end to sit with our own schools and pick out highlights.


Know what I did? I listened to a woman talk for an hour and forty-five minutes about how listeners can’t process more than 15-20 minutes worth of material. She certainly involved her audience in proving that point!

But I’m sure some of you have stories that are worse.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2007 pm30 3:22 pm 3:22 pm

    HAHA exactly!

  2. November 7, 2007 pm30 5:04 pm 5:04 pm

    You surely had me in a dream-like state there for a moment. Having a hand in PD right now @ my high school is quite the befuddling experience. I’ve tried your dreamy vision and most teachers tend to run for their holes, handouts clenched in their overly-possessive hands.

    What a frustrating endeavor!

    grumble, grumble.

  3. November 7, 2007 pm30 9:08 pm 9:08 pm

    After all your complaints here I really expected more horrendous reports. By the way, don’t miss Pissed Off Teacher’s account on her blog, here.

  4. November 8, 2007 am30 1:05 am 1:05 am

    yours sounds like you might have accomplished something. I’m jealous.

  5. November 8, 2007 am30 1:06 am 1:06 am

    you got me–I didn’t read until the end!

  6. Bernie permalink
    November 8, 2007 pm30 11:56 pm 11:56 pm

    I, along with 1,400 other teachers, once heard a brilliant 2-hour lecture by Cornell West at an ASCD conference. No one fell asleep. No one left. No one graded papers. No one was groaning or eye rolling. Every head in the room stayed riveted on the podium as West discussed ed politics, pedagogy and curriculum. To say teachers can’t process but 20 minutes worth of material is demeaning. It’s true that the best PD is teacher driven. And it sounds like that woman (why is gender even mentioned?) was a dud. But good PD, just like good teaching, can take many forms. Don’t you think?

  7. November 9, 2007 am30 1:06 am 1:06 am

    Don’t I think? I try hard not to.

    But ok, I’ll try. I think you didn’t read carefully, and read too ‘carefully’ at the same time.

    I think you reached back decades to come up with an example.

    I think you misread: listeners in general, not just teachers, not just students, have a hard time assimilating information in large chunks.

    I think your question “why is gender is even mentioned?” isn’t a question at all, but just a slimy accusation.

    And frankly, I think you are an administrator.

    But I’d rather not think.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    November 9, 2007 pm30 6:35 pm 6:35 pm

    this guy says he was just at
    “an in-service session that was great”.
    but then, even though he styles himself “mathman”,
    he’s actually a department chair and has evidently
    been assimilated. “don’t you think?”

  9. November 10, 2007 am30 2:00 am 2:00 am

    I need to think? OK

    That guy said “Life is full of surprises. Today, I attended an in-service session that was great. The facilitator provided usable strategies that I can use tomorrow to keep my students focused.”

    Notice he was surprised? Sounds like he still teaches a little, or only recently stopped.

    Plus, not all PD sucks. Just most.

  10. November 10, 2007 am30 6:30 am 6:30 am

    The problem with PD is that the people that give it don’t have a clue what they are doing. I’ve gone to graphing calculator workshops where the guy running it (an AP from a local HS) knew nothing. The administrators that are running them in my school are not quality teachers and soem don’t even know a lot of subject material. They are also not given time to plan the workshops out. These days end up like mine would if I tried to teach without a lesson–they should be U rated.

    I have gone to great PD run by the UFT. Bobbie (I forget her last name) does some really good stuff. Also some of the writers of AP texts have given workshops there. I don’t mind paying and giving up my weekends when I can learn something.

  11. November 10, 2007 am30 8:19 am 8:19 am

    Roberta Eisenberg (Bobbie). I have heard her stuff is good. She organized (but did not present) an AP Calc/ calculator workshop I went to a few years back.
    There is good PD locally, but too little of it reaches the schools. And what we get in the schools…

  12. November 10, 2007 am30 8:34 am 8:34 am

    So far fetched, yet seemingly so simple at the same time.

  13. November 11, 2007 am30 3:16 am 3:16 am

    Thanks for the reminder–she doesn’t present the AP stuff but the workshops would not get done without her-and they are great

    She also does other math stuff on her own.


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