Professional Development

Learning Learning: Getting the Most Out of Your PD

I’ve just been fortunate enough to attend the 2016 National FutureSchools Expo and Conference in Sydney. There was a lot of content and a lot of takeaway ideas, especially for just two days! I found myself needing twenty minutes between each speaker just to truly wrap my head around what was being said!

I guess the first thing that I really took away is

how on earth do you meaningfully retain all this stuff?

Part of being a teacher, or at least working in the field, is this natural, ongoing state of learning. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really compare with clustered, condensed days of professional development. SO! I’ve come up with four simple strategies that teachers can use to get the most of professional development and meaningfully start embedding the ideas into their practice:

tumblr_nlqkpvo7721uqg4zmo1_5001 The Cornell Note-Taking Method

This method involves organising your notes in three sections, the note taking during the session, the keywords along the column, and a post-session summary. This method forces you to review your notes to finish it properly, and drawing out keywords yourself is a great method of retaining important information.

If it works for university students, it’ll definitely work for teachers! It could also be great to explicitly teach and use with year 10 students, who start dealing with heavier content-based subjects going into senior school.

IMG_20160304_0736092 Mindmaps

Creating a mindmap of daily-conference/professional development information is a great way of making links between different ideas. I was surprised by how many links there were from the futureschool’s day 1 speakers alone!


twitter capture3 Twitter

Every try consolidating a new, complex idea into 240 characters? We make our students summarise subject content, so summarising our own professional development is key for meaningful understanding! That, and it’s just nice to share with the world.


IMG_20160304_0712404 Cute Stationary

I think this point speaks for itself.

Aaaand I lied. There are 5 Steps:

5 Use it immediately!

Make a plan to action one idea or plan or tool the very next week. If you don’t, you’ll fall into the trap of the same old routine. You and your school deserve to move forward with new ideas and share knowledge, so do it today!



2 thoughts on “Learning Learning: Getting the Most Out of Your PD

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