Most districts include an option in their professional development (PD) plans that allows teachers to design their own PD activity, whether these activities take place on district-wide PD days or on the teacher's own time. However, many teachers are unsure of what constitutes a sound, well-designed PD plan and don't take advantage of this option. Designing your own activity or long-term plan may take some time, but is well worth the effort if it's based on these principles:
- the focus of the plan should be on what you need or want to learn that will have an impact on your teaching and hence, on student learning;
- the learning outcomes describe what you will learn through the plan;
- the learning outcomes connect to student learning, although the connection may not be immediate;
- the plan may be based on you working alone, working with colleagues, or a combination of both;
- the learning outcomes can be measured or observed in some way;
- the activities planned are appropriate for your learning style, an allowable cost, and a realistic time frame.