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I Took a PD Course and All I Got Was This Stupid Certificate

Is it fair to ask teachers to implement differentiated learning for their students when many school systems don't customize professional development learning experiences for their teachers? Bill Ferriter explores this topic in his latest blog post in The Tempered Radical, in which he argues that "learning isn't the priority for most teacher professional development programs."

Ferriter, a 6th grade language arts teacher and veteran when it comes to technology integration, recalls a "bizarre" moment in his professional career when he was required to take beginner technology lessons in order to fulfill the PD credits required to renew his teaching license in North Carolina.

In an effort to find a course that fit his professional development needs, Ferriter called the licensure representatives at the county office. As he explains it, the conversation went as follows:

Me [i.e., Ferriter]: So I need a few technology professional development credits, but there aren't any courses that will help me to grow as a learner.

PD Lady: I see two courses, Mr. Ferriter. One titled Getting to Know Your Computer. The other titled Getting to Know the Internet.

Me: Right. But those courses are for beginners. I'm not a beginner. Could I maybe do an independent study on integrating video into classroom instruction?

PD Lady: No Mr. Ferriter. You have to take an approved course.

Me: Even if I don't learn anything?

PD Lady: Yes, Mr. Ferriter.

Cases like these send out the unfortunate message that meeting certification requirements is simply about just that—meeting certification requirements—and not about improving your practice.

Is this a problem in your district? How can some budgets be better spent on PD programs for teachers?

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