Transcript: Margaret Kamman, PhD
Margaret Kamman discusses a few best practices related to providing PD for new special education teachers (time: 2:13).
No matter what type of structure the administrator or the district chooses for professional development, there are some best practices that should be adhered to so that the new special education teacher can really maximize their learning during this time period. One of those is that the learning needs to occur over time. And what I mean by that is sending a new teacher to a one-time workshop and expecting them to be able to take whatever they’ve learned in that workshop and implement that in their classroom is not realistic. Instead, what needs to happen is the professional development should occur over time. Some learning might happen one time, and then there’s additional follow-up for that professional development. Moreover, we want to be able to help the new special education teacher get some kind of opportunity for feedback. So not only do they learn about the practice but then they can get some feedback on how it’s going in their classroom and how they can change things based on their own context.
You also need to be able to provide a reasonable amount of evidence-based strategies in a workshop. It’s not going to be any good to go into a professional development session and try to give a new teacher every piece of evidence around a particular content area, because it’s just not possible for that new teacher to take in all of that. Instead, it’s really choosing a more focused amount of learning for them so they can then go and follow that up with practice and implement it in their classrooms. Another place that is helpful for new teachers is to have some kind of follow-up with their mentor. Being able to provide the mentor with some knowledge about the professional development that the beginning teacher has attended will help that mentor then be able to follow-up with the new teacher in the classroom to make sure that what they’re doing actually aligns with what they learn. And by implementing all of these best practices and PD, you’re really setting up your beginning teachers for success, and you’re setting them up for a year to be making some personal growth in their instructional strategies.