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I am currently taking two online professional development courses through a local school system. Both are book studies, and if you look in the sidebar, you can guess which two books. The interesting thing to me is that one group is active, dynamic, and interested in conversation about the book we are reading. Participants are posting resources. Participants are actually reading each other’s posts and providing feedback that instigates discussion. Interestingly enough, a large number of the participants are not currently teaching, but they are taking the course to keep their certificates current.
The other group does the bare minimum required. Many of the response posts are bland recapitulations of the poster’s points with a somewhat encouraging “I agree” stamped on. We’re reading a really interesting book, and the discussions are just mind-numbing. I think the majority of this group is in the classroom, too.
I really hope these teachers are not accepting the kind of work they are producing from their own students. On the other hand, part of me wants to say that if you aren’t willing to be a good student, it doesn’t make much sense to be a teacher. I think the best teachers genuinely like to learn. I know, I know. A lot of professional development is stupid. But these two online courses really aren’t! That’s just my opinion, I guess, and clearly the majority of the other participants don’t agree.
I find the dichotomy really interesting.