It is really hard to find good PD I think. While the tools, research and ideas are around, often presenters do not take advantage of them. I think most school PD presenters are well intentioned and genuinely care about what they are trying to do. But many of us have not reserved time to look at how we present and how we can do a better job of it.
Here are some suggested do’s and don’ts
- Talk a lot. Unless you are a gifted orator or can double as a stand up comedian, people really don’t want really want to hear you talk for more than a few minutes at a time.
- Use slides on your presentation that have lots of text. This is often the default and we can’t stand it. We can’t process it when the person is talking at the same time. An image, however, we can process!
- Use too many images from Google image search. We know they are from there, that you did it quickly and we can’t relate to them. Whenever possible, stick in real photos you took of the things you are talking about. Then we get into your brain as you are presenting and can empathize with your topic.
- Apologize for being there, remind them you topic is not interesting. Ok, maybe you can make an exception during accreditation presentations, but people want to be jazzed up at the outset of a presentation.
- Go past your allotted time. I will never forget when a guy whom I shall call Steve Baloney, held us 15 minutes into our lunch hour during an ALL DAY presentation about strategic planning. He said it was too important to let us go. He lost a lot of credibility that day.
- Give an overview of what the entire presentation is about and what is covered.
- Remind people where we are in the presentation as you transition from beginning, middle to end.
- Use real images of people you know or the audience knows. They will love you for it. They will also giggle and that will up their interest in your content.
- Share stories, photos and videos of your ideas in action. We love that! We can see ourselves doing that too because now we are connected to your ideas.
- Let people move. In fact, make them! I use GoNoodle.com on ALL presetnations over one hour. Your audience will love it and love you for giving them some energy.
- Have plenty of opportunities to let people share their views. Most of us are crying out “I do that too.” Or, “I have an idea to share about your topic.” Give lots of chances to collect/capture that. Small groups, big groups, whatever. People want to talk about themselves. Engage and leverage our narcissism. 😉
- Have a SHORT survey at the very end. I am a huge believer in the Net Promoter Score system which gives you all the information you need in the form of one question. Apple, Dell and a zillion other companies use this system.
Lastly, try this. Walk around during the presentation and see how many people are doing email or are on SportIllustrated.com. If it is a large number, it is not them with the problem. It is you.
I think PD, and I mean PD that is meaningful, rewarding, and team-building in nature, looks different in each school campus due to the fact that each campus has its own personality. that being said, there are some pieces that every effective PD program has.
- The teachers have the power to choose, even if from a limited menu, what specific PD they will pursue.
- I know that there are some pieces of tech that must be learned such as LMS systems and schoolwide services. Great! Have a small core of willing teachers learn the system and then become the teachers of teachers. In this way teachers are learning from their peers, who know the most presence concerns of the profession.
- The school administration creates the time, space, and resources for the learning to take place. This could take the form of time after school in lieu of other meetings. IT may mean assigning the tech personnel to support specific trainings, and/or designating willing and qualified teachers to support other teachers in the acquisition of skills. Perhaps it means a budget of sending a few teachers to conferences who, upon return, become the leaders of other teachers.
- The focus is on the teaching, not the tech. Tech is seen as supporting pedagogical practices, making them more efficient and effective.