Setting the scene for tutor professional development with managers and others

How do you convince managers and others of the value of professional development for possibly resistant staff?

This is especially an issue for us when dealing with something that sounds inherently mysterious and difficult, i.e. embedding literacy and numeracy.


Here’s part of the approach I’m planning for this year as I get ready for a series of “Taster” workshops. What’s outlined below is what I think I need to cover before I even get into the whole literacy numeracy thing.

Setting the scene

  1. Discuss and then review what people already know (or think they know). This is necessary to tease out assumptions and expectations.
    1. Learners: Who are they? What do we know about them? What do they know? What kind of training do they do? What kind of training do they need?
    2. Tutors: Same questions
  2. Outline a model for educational business development. Briefly explain the three dimensions outlined below. Ask what percentage of time people probably spend in each. Our assumption is that it’s probably about 70% tactical (the day-to-day), 20% pragmatic (the system), and about 10% strategic (professional learning and improvement). Our intent is to develop all areas through the upcoming training.
    1. Tactical: Most tutors and trainers spend most of their time here. This is the technical and day-to-day focus of training and relies on an existing toolbox of teaching tools and strategies. We will introduce new tools and techniques.
    2. Pragmatic: Most tutors and trainers rely on a few good systems based on past success for managing their learners and instruction. Our professional development will introduce a best-practice system for developing and improving tutors and learners.
    3. Strategic: Most tutors and trainers have a limited vision for moving their training and their learners into the 21st century. Our training will allow tutors to learn, improve, reflect on what they do, and imagine future possibilities.
  3. Outline a basic version of the Educator’s Journey. Highlight the stages and connect to the professional development training on offer. Our job is to take participants, move them from resistant apprentices to motivated practitioners, and hopefully set up the conditions for mastery.
    1. Apprentice: The apprentice is an outsider and starts with a limited awareness of the issues; they may be resistant, needs to learn the rules of the game, and is often afraid or confused to begin with.
    2. Practitioner: The practitioner has begun to practice and this results in fluency and and increase in confidence. They are active and creative, observing and imitating best practice examples and mentors, overcoming problems and seeing the connections.
    3. Master: Mastery is an ongoing process but it starts to happen when the pracititioner internalises the system, begins to see the big picture, and tries out their own ideas. They begin to apply their skills in a deeper way, perhaps re-writing the rules as they go.

What do you think…? Have I missed something…?

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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