How can you design high-quality professional development for educators? Here we share the guiding principles, instructional strategies, and planning tools that we use at the Academy to support K-12 teachers across the Bay Area.

A Guide for Professional Development Facilitators

Take your facilitation to the next level by integrating strategies based on research from the field of adult learning, and practiced time and again by staff at the California Academy of Sciences as we support K-12 educators across the Bay Area.

We hope you find these ideas useful in shaping your own perspective on high-quality professional development and facilitation.


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Our Teacher Professional Development Principles

Our team at the Academy has deceloped a set of principles that guide our work in facilitating effective learning experiences for teachers. We share them with you here in hopes that they help shape your own perspective on designing professional learning experiences for adults.

Each principle is based not only on our own experience, but also on feedback from the hundreds of teachers our team has supported, and on a solid body of educational research.

Establish Positive Culture

"People may forget what you said or did, but they'll never forget the way you made them feel."

In other words, the culture that you set as a facilitator of professional learning is as important as the content you teach.

In this chapter we share a number of tools and strategies that we use to cultivate and support a positive culture within our professional development experiences for teachers, and why we do it!

Design Instruction

How can you design your PD to encourage learning in adults? And how can you help teachers translate their experience as a learner to something useful for their own teaching practice?

In this chapter, we share our own go-to strategies, and the reasoning behind them.

Plan for Success

When we go about planning a new professional development session at the Academy, how do we start? We've outlined our steps in this planning guide, complete with graphic organizers.

We hope these tools help you craft meaningful goals for your PD, as well as a realistic agenda of activities!