Throughout 2020 there has been unprecedented disruption to our educational systems. The COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic weather events, and economic devastation unlike anything we have seen since the Great Depression have contributed to unique, on-going challenges to teaching and learning.
How we continue to educate students amid these stressors, stay-at-home orders, and isolation has – rightfully – been the most urgent question for parents, educators, and administrators across the world. Critical to this question is the parallel consideration of how we can and must support our educators during these tumultuous times, and beyond.
Professional development is one pillar of support for educators that must be re-examined and prioritized as we create the needed systems of learning for our chaotic present and in hopes of a more resilient future. Professional development is foundational to educator skill growth, confidence, adaptability, and resiliency. It provides a tool for team building, mentorship and a reprieve from the anxiety and isolation commonly felt by educators even before this new world of limited physical contact and social distancing.
In our short discussion paper, “Building resilient systems of professional development,” we offer recommendations for addressing contemporary educator professional development needs. Here, we propose actions that will help create learning systems capable of rapidly upskilling educators and building community; that prioritize content developed in collaboration with educators based on their most urgent needs; and that are adaptable. We hope this paper will spur conversations that center investment in the long-term resiliency of educational systems through systemwide solutions to professional development challenges.
D2L is the developer of the Brightspace Learning Management System (LMS) for K-12. Brightspace is the leading LMS for systemwide implementations of blended, hybrid, and fully virtual teacher-led learning. Teachers can personalize the learning experience for every learner to deliver tangible results. Brightspace is easy to use, equitable, flexible, and smart.