7 Strategies for Personal Professional Learning

Barbara Bray
6 min readMar 22, 2021
7 Strategies for Personal Professional Learning: Teachers are learners too. It is time to change traditional “sit and get” professional development move to personal professional learning opportunities by Barbara Bray

Professional learning encourages personal growth by teachers, but much professional development (PD) programs are designed around the “one size fits all” approach. A district may mandate that all teachers have to attend specific sessions around the district mission. Did the teachers have a voice in creating the mission? How does your school or district’s PD support teacher’s personal professional learning goals?

That’s not always been the case in existing professional development programs. According to The Teaching Commission report “Teaching at Risk: A Call to Action” in 2004, there was an urgent need in “helping our teachers to succeed and enabling our children to learn is an investment in human potential, one that is essential to guarantee America’s future freedom and prosperity.” Since this report was released, most professional development programs were not part of an overall, well-planned approach for school staff. There have been multiple research studies with many reports on what makes effective professional development. Concepts in common include:

  • recognizes teachers as professionals
  • focuses on student learning
  • collaborative communities of practice
  • supported by administrators with funding and time to practice new skills

Teachers are learners too. What if teachers take charge of their own professional learning by reflecting on the process and demonstrating evidence of learning? What if there was a way for teachers to propose strategies that support exactly what they need for their own professional growth? What if teachers have time to develop relationships with colleagues to learn from each other? Don’t you think that now is the time to change traditional “sit and get” professional development and move to personal professional learning opportunities?

“Traditional PD is given to you…
Personal Professional Learning is something you seek.

Lisa Welch @lt1teach

It is all about owning the learning. When teachers identify and address what they need and want to learn and the school supports them by providing resources, people, and time, then that’s personal professional learning. Consider these 7 strategies for…



Barbara Bray

Story Weaver ~ Podcast host ~ Author “Define Your WHY” ~ Co-author 2 books on Making Learning Personal ~ Author "Grow Your Why" ~ New Podcast "Real Talk"