Presenting a fantastic professional learning workshop for teachers is an art. Most teachers will get the opportunity to give it a shot at some point in their careers, and it is a fantastic way to build your leadership skills.
If you’re not a teacher, the tips below will still apply. Teachers can be a tough audience, so it’s best to be as prepared as you can be.
Here are a few dos and don’ts for running a professional learning workshop for teachers:
Being confident is at the top of the list because it is the point that everything else hinges on. If you’re prepared, you’ll naturally be confident. Being confident can also make up for being a little unprepared as well, though.
How do you build confidence? Practice does help. Talk through your workshop by yourself or with your colleagues. If you can practice with other teachers, even better as they will have better insight into what teachers want out of your presentation.
Things will go wrong, as they always do. Being confident in yourself as well as your workshop will make it much easier to roll with the punches. All teachers have had to think on their feet in front of a crowd, and you’ll impress them if you’re confident enough to recover well.
Keep it useful
Teachers do a lot of professional learning. It’s a core part of being a teacher, and all teachers are expected to keep on top of research and best practice. This means that many feel like they’ve seen it all before.
Teachers are very critical of professional learning which they believe is a waste of their time. If you’re running a professional learning workshop for teachers, ensure that you know what point you’re trying to make, why teachers need to hear it and what they’re going to get out of it.
If you keep this core idea in mind, it’s going to come across as stronger to your audience.
Even if you’re going in with an agenda (like trying to sell a particular idea or product), you need to make it useful to the teachers. If you don’t recognise what their needs are and clearly link the workshop to them, you’re going to lose your audience very quickly.
Keep it simple
Don’t try to convey a complex message. Have the one point that you’re trying to emphasise and keep it to that. If you get to the point quickly, your audience will have more clarity and be more likely to stay engaged.
Don’t read off the PowerPoint
Big no-no. If you’re going to read off the PowerPoint, then why is your audience even here? They can read off a deck of slides themselves in a fraction of the time that this workshop is taking.
Make sure that you’re aware of the value that you bring. You’re the expert in this room, and you have something to offer these teachers. You’ve done more research, or have more experience in one particular area and you are going to share this to make their lives easier. Keep that in mind.
Don’t be a teacher
Teachers fall into this trap all the time. They think that running a professional learning workshop is the same as running a lesson.
Adults learn very differently to adolescents. Many of the same concepts apply, but for adults, you’re going to need to make the message simpler and the content more relevant and applicable to their lives RIGHT NOW.
Some things that you can get away with in the classroom, you’re not going to get away with in a professional learning workshop. You’re talking to professionals about how to do their job, and they are going to be a tough audience. Respect your audience and the value that they also bring to the room, and you’ll deliver a useful and memorable professional learning session.