What I Learned From Really Bad PD | Mindsteps Inc.

What I Learned From Really Bad PD

When I was still in the school system, I sat through some really bad PD...

Long, sit and get lectures.

Folks reading slides to me…

Silly activities that treated me like a 3rd grader…

Irrelevant material…

And on of my biggest pet peeves of all, my questions dying in the parking lot.

Can you relate??

But, as grueling and awful as it was, all that bad PD over the years actually paid off.

Watch now to hear what I learned from really bad PD

And when you’re done, I’d love to know. What is your PD pet peeve? Leave your comment here and let me know.

  • Carie says:

    My personal PD pet peeve is forced-fun, and contrived, meaningless interaction, like when they say: “Now, let’s all form groups of 3!” Or, “Turn to your neighbor and learn something unique about them to share with class!” I’m just not sure how awkward socializing aids in effective learning…sometimes I just walk out at that point.
    I also strongly dislike the role play and teach-back models. When I go to PD, I trust that the expert knows their subject and has the best way to explain it, so when I forced to suddenly do his job for him, resentment builds.
    Loved seeing a copy of “Building Expertise” by Ruth Clark on your bookshelf! She is one of my favorite gurus, and I got my instructional design training from her organization. Thanks!!

  • Gwyn says:

    I hate having my time wasted, in any form. For example, as you said, reading slides to us, or spending too much time on cutesy activities. Another time waster is not starting on time or not keeping an adequate pace throughout. I’ve been teaching for 30 years, and teachers now have so many more demands on their time than they did decades ago. Don’t waste what little time I do have. Get to the point, give me the strategies, and give me time to try them out with my own curriculum.

  • Alex says:

    My PD pet peeve is going to a session on a particular topic (something I need to learn about) and the facilitator starts by instructing me to turn to my neighbour and talk about what we know about said topic. So instead of having a valuable learning experience, asking questions of the facilitator, and gaining valuable, or even better, practical take-aways, I spend half the session speaking with Phil from Cleveland, who, like me knows very little and has come to learn (and is in return, learning very little from me).

    • Robyn says:

      When I first started delivering PD, I NEVER did turn and talk for exactly the same reason. But, a few years ago, I figured out how and when to use the strategy in a meaningful way. It’s great for processing information, but terrible for almost everything else.

    • Jessica says:

      LOL. Never thought of it like that but that is so true.

  • Dr Wendy Beresford-Maning says:

    I love it. Although I’ve now retired – always said I would when I stopped learning from my students, and it happened so I went – I love this. In almost 50 years of secondary teaching I reckon I experienced 3 worthwhile PDs. They shared the characteristics you mentioned – concept, practice and reinforcement. The best of them began with something like: “This is not something to add to your already impossible load. This will enable you to refine your practice and find more effective ways to do what you need to do”. And nothing peeved me more, after a long career, than people who knew no history of our profession trying to teach me stuff I learned before they were crawling!

  • We meet every Thursday morning from 7:25 to 8:10. One pet peeve I have is that I have yet to experience a worthwhile PD. I honestly believe since we were told we HAD to have PD meetings, our administrators come up with topics to just fill up our time so they can say we had PD. They have been a waste of my PRECIOUS time for 3 years now. Another pet peeve I have is while the classroom teachers are forced to sit through these unnecessary meetings, the non-classroom teachers get to work in their rooms. This is so unfair as the classroom teachers are the ones needing extra time to work the most.

    • Robyn says:

      Laurie, I hear you! That’s one of the reasons we built our PD Kits — so that administrators wouldn’t have to scramble to provide meaningful PD when PD is scheduled weekly or bi-weekly. Your time is too valuable to waste on what I call “filler PD.” I used to HATE that!

  • Jill Kind says:

    I recently attended a workshop that discussed each of the pet peeves you mentioned and how they contributed to ineffective changes in schools and teachers. Sadly, the workshop the violated each of the pet peeves. I walked away from that day very frustrated.

  • Amanda says:

    My PD pet peeve is too much talking by the presenter. It makes it worse if the presenter is monotone. Talking too much but not really saying anything.
    But, I need to say that I love great PD! I love to learn. I enter into PD situations expecting to learn, wanting to learn.
    So, I think that happens best when I’m not talked At for hours.

  • My pet peeve is professional development that doesn’t provide even one example for my content area. I have attended too many PD events with well-known experts in their fields, that provide outstanding exemplars for K-6 – even though there was a large cohort of high school content area teachers present.
    During the registration process each participant is asked to denote his/her area of expertise so I cannot understand why this information is ignored.

  • Kenneth C. Harris says:

    Peeves: Not starting on time; reduction is what is being presented because time management of the presentation wasn’t thought out or the presenter tries to do too much in too little time; assumption of the expertise of the group receiving the presentation and ascertaining that expertise with very general questions, e.g. who teaches middle school? High school?; the belief or assumption that a one shot presentation about whatever will have significant impact on the least knowledgeable or impactful educator without future additional support and feedback; specificity as to who is required to attend the presentation; not finding out what participants want or think they should be getting from the PD.

  • Bridgette Kemp-Bell says:

    Hi Robyn! Thank you for always being so transparent. My PD pet peeve is when I am asked to participate in an activity simply for activity sake. In other words, when the task that I’m asked to complete, either in a small group or individually has nothing to with the content of the PD, I cannot stand that! True confession. I’m guilty! I’ve done it myself. But, I’m getting better each time. That’s one reason I appreciate your videos and newsletters so much. Thank you!

  • Tham Hanrong says:

    My pet peeve is professional development that only covers theories and principles without any concrete examples in my content area e.g. lesson plans and teaching strategies. What is even worse is that coming up with the concrete examples becomes your assignment for the workshop and little or no feedback is given to you for your assignment. I don’t find that I learn a lot from such workshops.

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