Thoughts and Tools

MCS PD Survey and more

As you may notice from my recent posts, I'm thinking quite a bit about Professional Development in my current context.  I've put together a couple of tools that I think would be thought-provoking for teachers interested in bringing clarity and focus to their classroom practices.  If you end up using this tool, I'd be really interested in your thoughts about it!  


Faculty Survey 

(Formatting tables, especally in adaptive web-pages, is not something I'm going to master anytime soon.  Sorry!  Here's a pdf version if you prefer a better look.)





1 = never, none, none

2 = rarely, few, slight

3 = occasion-ally, some, some

4 = almost every time, many, moderate

5 = always, all, very high

Curricular and Environment Diversity:

How many of your units have you evaluated for cultural diversity?






How often do your classroom decorations reflect the cultures present in your classroom?






How often do you include examples or details in your teaching that come from diverse backgrounds?








How often would it be appropriate to include diverse examples or details in this subject?







How often are students able to create content that reflects their own cultural background?






How often would it be appropriate to empower students to create content that reflects their background in this subject?










Classroom engagement:

How often are students exhibiting visible signs of disengagement during your lessons?







How many students exhibit disengagement?






How often are students empowered to have choice in their assignments?






How often would it be appropriate to allow student choice in this class?






Are there any patterns of disengagement that need to be addressed?



What are the main sources of demotivation present in these moments?  How can they be addressed?







Philosophy Evaluation:

What or who is at the center of your classroom: the teacher, the student or the content?



Do you empower students to create content that relates to their lives? Why or why not?



How would you like your classroom to change in the next year?





Technology Integration:

How often do you integrate technology in your lessons?






How often does your use of technology enliven and change the nature of your lesson or classroom?






How student-centered is your use of technology?






How often do you feel supported by IT with the tools and troubleshooting you need?






How often do you receive the mentoring and coaching you would need to effectively include new technology in your classroom?






Are there units you would like to see use more technology or new tools you need to explore?



What issues related to technology integration can you bring to our small group collaborative sessions?









Small Group Focus Questions

For small groups focused on integrating shifts in teaching philosophy, here are some questions to consider:

  1. What new technique did you use in the last week that was aimed at increasing student engagement?
  2. What was the philosophy behind your new technique? (Behaviorist?, Constructionist?, Teacher centered?, Student centered?, Learning centered? Other?)
  3. How effective was it?
  4. What problems did you have with the technique?
  5. Are the problems related to misunderstanding the ideas behind the technique, or to something else?
  6. How can those problems be overcome?
    1. Does TLAC address this issue?
    2. Can you use the internet to find ideas about this?
  7. What do you plan to do differently this week as a result of your conversation?


For small groups focused on technology integration, consider:

  1. How could you engage your students better with a technology tool?
  2. Can collaboration or student ownership be increased by modifying your lesson?
  3. What ways might the inclusion of technology improve student choice and ownership?
  4. Do you need assistance from an IT person to help? (Curtis and Brian are available!)
  5. How can you implement the new ideas you have this week?
    1. Be as specific as possible; which unit, which lesson, how?
  6. Are there techniques or ideas you need more information about?
    1. Who might know more about this?
    2. Can you use internet resources to help you?
    3. Does TLAC address the issue?
  7. What do you plan to do differently this week as a result of your conversation?


General three-year timeline for PD at MCS

Year One

  • Restructure biweekly meetings from whole-group discussion to collaborative small groups
  • Move from no IT support during PD meetings to purposefully IT support into PD meetings
  • Change from a focus on technique to a focus on philosophies: What's your why!

Year Two

  • Continue collaborative small-group processes, moving from philosophical development towards unit development and restructuring
  • Focus on addressing diversity and engagement related isues using the survey above.
  • Begin addressing IT needs and tools to be developed


Year three

  • Continue collaborative small-group process, moving from unit restructuring ideas to execution
  • Move from planning technology integration into executing greater use of technology



Curtis White, M.S., M.C.E.
High School Faculty
Math, Science, Bible & Computers
Abundant Life Christian School
A Madison Christian School