Interview with Dr. Michael Moody: Good professional development, Common Core, and technology

Dr. Michael Moody

Recently, Edtech Digest's Victor Rivero sat down with our very own Dr. Michael Moody, Insight's CEO, to discuss good professional development, Common Core, and the role of technology.

Victor: What does good PD [professional development] actually look like?

Michael: Good PD is about engaging teachers in a process in which they bring their own skills and knowledge to the table as a starting point for learning.  It is practical and models strategies that teachers can use in their classrooms.

Good PD gives learners time to grapple with concepts and apply new learning to their own classrooms, schools, or districts.

Importantly, PD must find its way into the classroom, meeting teachers where they are. This is most commonly referred to as job-embedded PD.  We know so much about how individuals (including teachers) learn.

Yet, we don’t often use this knowledge to build PD experiences that effectively grow teachers in their practice.  After all, we’re educators.  There is no reason that PD shouldn’t reflect everything we know about good teaching.

Victor: When people talk about ‘job-embedded’ PD, what does that actually mean?

Michael: Job-embedded PD means many things to many people, which contributes to the challenge of creating effective models.

Job-embedded PD is really about supporting the growth of teachers or administrators in their schools and classrooms, where it matters most.

“Traditional” PD is generally out of the classroom (or outside of school) and thus relies on a teacher’s ability to implement new learning without support or feedback.

If we can bring that learning to a teacher’s classroom, and use the instructional process to provide feedback and make adjustments, a teacher’s practice is much more likely to grow and improve.

Additionally, there is a lot of value in having teachers implement new strategies in their classrooms, with their students.

Victor: How are districts using PD to plan for and implement the Common Core?

Michael: It appears to me that districts are taking a variety of approaches when it comes to implementing the Common Core. In many cases, teachers are getting an overview of the new standards and the “instructional shifts” required by the standards.

However, given the significant changes in practice that are required by the Common Core, I think we’ll soon see how important a job-embedded approach really is.

Teachers need time to really “dig in” to the actual standards themselves, and have opportunities to plan lessons that reflect not only the new standards, but also the instructional strategies that will most effectively engage students.

myCore™ is Insight Education Group’s award-winning online platform for teachers and district leaders to plan and share lessons aligned to the Common Core State Standards.Born and developed from this need is Insight’s online planning tool, myCore, a cloud-based platform that empowers teachers to meet the rigor of the Common Core when planning standards- aligned lessons.

Following the job-embedded PD model, myCore provides teachers with coaching support when and where they need it.  We are hearing a lot about text dependent questioning, perseverance, etc., but districts haven’t yet identified the best way to provide models of effective instruction with the Common Core.

myCore includes model units and lesson and a full year’s worth of units and lessons for K-6 teachers.

While the initial step into the Common Core is critical, it’s going to be important for districts to provide on-going, sustained PD relative to instruction.

Check out the rest of the interview on Edtech Digest »

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