A Journey of Discovery:
Why is participation in intensive professional development a good investment of teachers' time and effort?
Pam Edwards of The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning doesn't have to wonder - she gets to see the results.
Here are her reflections on a typical QTL™ experience.
Pam Edwards has an extensive background in instructional technology. She has been a QTL™ instructor since 2004.
In addition, they generally expect to sit back and just listen, unsure of how much of the material will be beneficial to their needs.
However, by the end of the first morning it becomes evident that participating in a QTL™ cycle is not going to be a typical “workshop.”
Before the participants leave for lunch on the first day, they each have been actively engaged in applying Best Teaching Practices to actual student activities that infuse technology into the required classroom curriculum. This engagement is differentiated to meet their individual technology skill levels and concept understanding.
Following a discussion about this experience and application to the “real” classroom, the participants begin to recognize that the QTL sessions may be very valuable to their professional development.
As Day 1 concludes and Day 2 unfolds, the excitement level begins to rise. Some participants return having already implemented Day 1 concepts into their educational assignments. They come to Day 2 knowing that they will again be actively involved in learning throughout the day.
A delightful camaraderie begins to evolve by the end of Day 2 due to the focus of the activities and the cooperative learning process. This further promotes learning because there is a supportive and stimulating environment.
Participants often comment that they appreciate how we teach and model the strategies we discuss; we do not just talk about the importance of the Best Practices.
By the end of Day 5, the instructor has become a true facilitator of learning. There is noticeable enthusiasm in the room as cooperative teams of participants plan, work, and complete an interactive student project using the skills they have been learning throughout the sessions.
Participants complete the first five QTL sessions with a higher level of understanding about Best Teaching Practices, and how to infuse of technology into the existing school curriculum. This growth in knowledge is individual; based on the skill level each participant brought to the first day.
The most rewarding observation is the renewed passion for teaching that is evident on Day 6 as cooperative groups prepare to implement their learning into a student-focused collaborative project.
Those projects cut right to the heart of what QTL™ is all about - finding new ways to engage every student. Watching teams plan their collaborative projects, then hearing how they put QTL concepts to work in their own classrooms, is a tremendously rewarding payoff.
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