I was recently talking to an educator who had the opportunity to attend a professional development session which was scheduled for 3 hours. There was a ten minute break granted in the middle, and the session ended up clocking in at two hours, forty minutes.
Much of the session featured the presenter sharing information while about 40 attendees listened to the information. The attendees had minimal opportunity for discussion and the majority of the session was stand and deliver.
The frustrating part, according to the attendee, was that after the presenter would share several slides of information, he would then say, “Does that make sense to you” although it wasn’t really used as a question. It was used more as a transition statement, along the lines of:
“This should make sense to you because I’ve read it aloud, so I’m moving on to the next slide of information.”
It’s very difficult for someone to learn something when a PD session is structured this way:
Information. (Does this make sense to you.)
More information. (Does this make sense to you.)
Immediately followed by more information. (Does this make sense to you.)
Finally, a last bit of information followed by the statement, Does this make sense to you.
There is no time for reflection, no time for discussion, and no time for digestion.
And the worst part is that what is being posed as a reflection question is really nothing of the sort.
If the person was really asking, “Does it make sense to you?” the answer would be:
No it doesn’t make sense to me, because I need to process and think about the information you just shared. I’d also like to discuss it with my colleagues, and form a clear opinion about the topic. I may need you to go over this again, and give me a visual that clarifies your point.
Why would anyone continue to share information in this way?
It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Check out The Four O’Clock Faculty: A ROGUE Guide to Revolutionizing Professional Development for ideas to make PD more meaningful and relevant.