I have been doing some research for a presentation that I am developing on peer to peer professional development. We have experienced considerable success with the peer to peer approach at Mercy. Peer to peer training is agile, focused, and inexpensive. Learners often appear to be more receptive to colleagues than outside presenters. An additional benefit is that those doing the training are are recognized and empowered in the school community. Much of our training lately has been in the form of "drop-in labs" where teachers can receive 1:1 or small group help for technology issues.
Up to now my endorsement of peer to peer professional development has been based on observation However, I recently found an article in the Journal of Staff Development by Tienken and Stonaker called “EVERY DAY is professional development day” which provides research supporting Mercy's peer to peer practices:
• Teachers learn best outside of the constraints of large-group work-
shops (Knowles, 1980).
• Participants in professional learning activities should demonstrate mutual respect (Brookfield, 1986).
• Learning is an outcome of personal interactions (Bandura, 1986).
• Teachers are motivated by participating in a community of learners where knowledge is created and shared among its members (Randi & Zeichner, 2004).
• Small groups facilitate communication and learning (Achilles, Reynolds, & Achilles, 1997).
On Monday we will be holding peer to peer training for Schoology. The learners have selected two topics which will be addressed in workshops. A drop-in lab will also be available. All of the training will be delivered by Mercy teachers. I have never doubted that this is the right approach. Nevertheless, it is good to know that we are also supported by research.
|Scene from a Mercy drop-in lab|