Why Kinesthetic Professional Development Workshops Will Have Your Teachers Jumping for Joy
Professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on the latest science-backed pedagogical methods, increases their content knowledge, and allows them to strengthen relationships with their coworkers. Unfortunately, many teachers consider most professional development irrelevant, outdated, and uninspiring.
According to the Gates Foundation, only 29% of teachers are highly satisfied with the professional development opportunities offered to them (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2014). Luckily, you can change their attitudes by addressing a few important factors.
Here are five ways professional development workshops which teach kinesthetic learning strategies can address your teachers’ concerns and meet their professional learning goals!
1. Innovation. Many teachers are looking for new strategies that will engage their students, make learning fun, and be more inclusive to students’ various learning styles. Workshops that teach empirically-supported, innovative methods such as movement-based learning and play-based learning will help your teachers improve the learning experience of all of their students and provide new ways for struggling students to succeed.
2. Interaction. The format of most professional development is lecture-based. When asked to describe their ideal professional development workshop, many teachers say they would like their workshops to be interactive (2014). Professional development workshops that teach kinesthetic strategies often teach them experientially, thus they are inherently interactive! In interactive professional development workshops, teachers work together in groups, visit various stations, and participate in movement-based learning exercises. Teachers stay actively involved in the material while directly experiencing the activities they may use in their classrooms.
3. Excitement. When activities are fun and exciting, kids are more inclined to enjoy them – it’s the same for adults! Some professional development workshops intentionally make learning valuable professional skills enjoyable because presenters know teachers will get even more out of the workshop if they’re having fun. Kinesthetic strategies are fun for teachers to learn and also fun for them to use in the classroom – it’s a win-win opportunity!
4. Thoroughness. At professional development workshops, it is important for teachers to be given an in-depth understanding of the topic, as well as ideas for how they can start implementing the new skills they have learned in their classrooms. Kinesthetic workshops give teachers a solid grounding in the topic by not only telling them how it works but also showing them.
5. Relevance. Teachers have unique challenges and areas of interest, so sometimes the best way to provide relevant professional development that feels more personalized is to ask teachers for their input on what content they feel will be useful (2014). Content in professional development workshops can seem abstract, so workshops that show teachers exactly how they will apply strategies can help teachers see how the information will benefit their students more clearly. Workshops that show teachers how to create their own activities to use with students, like kinesthetic workshops do, make the training even more impactful.
What to ask when considering a professional development offering?
- What percentage of the professional development is lecture-style verses interactive?
- How is the content of the professional development relevant to your population of students?
- Is the content innovative? What new skills/ideas will your teachers receive?
- Will the content be engaging for your teachers?
- Is the content linked to state standards?
In America, $18 billion dollars is spent annually on professional development, and the average teacher spends 68 hours per year participating in professional development activities (2014). Since such an impressive amount of resources are spent on professional development opportunities and since you put so much effort into organizing them, let’s help educators get the most out of their training. Keeping these five points in mind while you review past evaluations can help you choose the most beneficial professional development for your teachers. In booking your next professional development event, be sure to consider a kinesthetic workshop for your teacher.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers Know Best: Teachers’ Views on Professional Development. Education Resources Information Center, 1-20.