Administrators and Professional Development

ISTE Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation

Performance Indicator B

  • Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.

We have looked at professional development through the lense of an adult learner and through the perspective of a teacher leader. This week our Triggering Event lead us into professional development from an administrator’s role. We were posed this question: What role should administrators play in professional learning programs and how do we advocate for their involvement and adequate professional learning support for technology-based learning initiatives?

This was a very broad question to me. I am not sure if it is because I have never really needed to think from this perspective before, or if I genuinely did not know where to start with my own exploration. I chose to reiterate the question to keep it open enough for me to find a better focus as I dove into some resources. My related question was: In what ways can teacher leaders advocate for administrative support and involvement in quality professional learning?

Still searching for that focus, I got online and met with my cohort for our weekly Google Hangout. As part of our weekly agenda, we collaborated on a google slide regarding the characteristics of administrators who are supportive of professional learning initiatives. Still facing that mental roadblock, I did not contribute much. However, it was immensely helpful to me to see what members of my cohort contributed. They were all ideas that I knew and all things that I was familiar with. It was more obvious and powerful coming from them.

On the slide, what stuck with me the most was the idea of administrators learning with their staff. Finally I had found a jumping off point! I came across an online post, from the Center for Teaching Quality, where a blogger highlighted an administrator’s thinking of how remembering the power of seeing themselves as a teacher first and an administrator second. It states the importance of remembering to switch those “proverbial hats.” The post goes on to state that:

Instead of seeing adult learning as a place to assert authority, deliver a lecture, or offer a one-size-fits-all training, administrators should see professional development as an opportunity to promote authentic, learner-centered experiences. Professional development offers administrators a chance to re-engage with their teacher identity, and to re-frame their role as a facilitator, leader, and guide (Crowley 2015).

It then lists several ways to approach this type of thinking, all of which we have explored over the past few weeks, but are always important enough to reiterate and keep with us.

Administrators should:

  • Strive to see a roomful of learners with different needs, and differentiate
  • Learn best practice when crafting adult learning experience. Continue their own learning.
  • Get rid of the 30 page Powerpoint and consider the constructivist approach.
  • Remember that authentic learning requires authentic relationship.
  • Change the mindset. Change the learning.

I thought it was interesting this week that my initial inquiries revolved around how teacher leaders could advocate for administrative support in regards to professional development, but I ended up exploring the of the administrator and the empowerment and learning that the can create and facilitate. One of my peers reflected on this and wondered aloud about what might be more impactful, administrators advocating for support or teachers? They seem to be equally as important, and even go hand in hand. It was some good food for thought.


Crowley, B. (2015, November 19). To Revolutionize PD, Administrators Should Follow This Simple Rule: Think Like a Teacher. Retrieved February 27, 2017, from

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