This week I wanted to talk about Numeracy Professional Development.
I think I am quite well qualified to talk about this because one of my jobs is to provide Professional Development to teachers:)
Now, I have been to many PD's over the years and learnt something from every PD I have attended (sometimes it was what NOT to do!)
For me, Numeracy PD presenters fall into a few categories:
Mr/Ms Boring: These sessions are so deeply based in theory and research that you walk away with knowledge but nothing you can really try out in your classroom the next day. This is frustrating- as a teacher and leader you want practical ideas you can implement straight away.
Mr/Ms Fun: You have been to these sessions. They are great. You walk away with lots of fun games and ideas, but there is very little depth to the presentation in terms of research, and you haven't really been pushed in a professional sense. Don't get me wrong there is absolutely a place for engaging games in maths (I am a huge advocate for these) - but there are other pedagogical decisions/approaches we need to consider.
Mr/Ms Perfect Mix: I have not often attended PD where I can walk away and say the mix of content and practice was perfect. But when I do it is such a great feeling- I feel like my brain has been challenged and grown! I aim for people to feel like this after attending my PD sessions! I want teachers to walk away from every PD I run having developed their pedagogical content knowledge AND with practical ideas to implement in their classroom the next day. For me, this is how every PD should run.
(Spoiler Alert: Early in 2022, I am organising a free online conference for teachers and I have asked 10 of my favourite "Mr/Ms Perfect mix" Australian presenters to present- I won't give too much away... but names include Paul Swan, Michael Minas, James Russo, Tom Moore, Katherin Cartright, Alex Box and more- more details to come over the coming weeks- very exciting!)
Sorry I digress! Back to the blog...
I have always felt we could improve PD in Maths Education. Research shows us that the most effective model of PD is actually based around ongoing support.
As a teacher, after I attended PD's I would always go back to school and try to implement what I had learnt.
BUT sometimes I would get stuck and think, I wish I could ask the presenter what to do next.
And in many cases as I attended the PD alone, I had no one at school to bounce ideas off. I wanted to be able to talk to the people who had been at the PD with me- but unfortunately they were mostly strangers I would probably never see again.
For me, the best model for PD is a blended model which involves content, research, practice, ongoing support and networking.
With all these experiences in mind, I have always dreamed of developing an alternate model of PD for teachers and leaders.
So instead of just thinking about it, I decided to give it a go! And that is why, this time last year I created my Numeracy Teachers Academy (NTA).
The NTA is based around quality ongoing PD and mentoring differentiated for each teachers point of need. We have an amazing group of teachers in the NTA who love to learn both from me, and from each other. We are kindred maths spirits!
I am very proud of the experience I offer in the NTA. I think it really is the "perfect mix" of PD.
If my blogs, emails and resources resonate with you, and you think you are the kind of "kindred maths spirit" who would love to join the NTA, I take on 40 new members in May and October each year! Click here for more information!