February 20, 2023 Training

Psychological Safety in PD by Jennifer Gonzalez on CultOfPedagogy.com

PD often isn’t personalized for everyone involved, so people can feel like it’s irrelevant or confusing

PD is often given top-down, which isn’t very engaging

PD often forgets to make space for learners to feel comfortable physically and emotionally

Effective PD should be about learning through the collaboration of everyone present

How do you challenge an attitude of apathy within the space? People may feign it in order to fit in and then you lose even more people

“When we’re afraid, our brains basically shut down,” Elena Aguilar explains. “…[O]ur body… goes into protection mode… our attention narrows and it focuses on little cues from the person who has power to indicate when it is time to flee or fight or freeze or appease.”

Fear often manifests as anger or frustration (like, “My time is being wasted”)

Aguilar says, “The fear is of not having the kind of impact we want to have, of not being able to express ourselves the way that we want to, of not having meaning. Fear is often hiding under a lot of our uncomfortable emotions, including, often, anger or frustration.”

Learning effectively requires us to be vulnerable

  1. Bring the attitude you want people to have to the space
    1. The instructor sets the tone based on how they behave
    2. Learn to recognize you emotions and communicate them
  2. Make sure your group has the social emotional skills needed
    1. Give opportunities for learners to identify their emotions, communicate, and empathize with each other
  3. Teach learners how to use emotional awareness
    1. Prompt learners to listen intently and make space for each other
  4. Create behavior standards and agreements
    1. Establish how people should interact with each other or use existing standards
    2. Make sure people know how they should be treating each other
  5. Address breaches in this safety
    1. Allowing behaviors outside the established behaviors to happen when they are affecting other’s capacity to learn should be addressed and refocused
    2. People respond positively when you reaffirm something is important
      1. Good for keeping and recatching the attention of learners

Safety is the baseline!

Using ChatGPT as an Example Machine by Chris Mah on CultOfPedagogy.com

See Contrasting Cases notes

Using multiple examples for a situation allows us to explore the bounds of it

– To know what a dog is, you must know what’s not a dog

How to get good responses:

  1. Establish good, clear criteria
  2. Write and submit your prompt
  3. Review and adapt (How good is the response? What is wrong? How can you change criteria to get a better response?)
  4. Prompt it to create contrasting cases (like incorrect, ambiguous, or non-examples)
  5. Review and adapt

Allowing learners to identify the difference between the generated examples forces them to do higher level thinking of analyzing and evaluating why certain examples are true, false, or somewhere in the middle

Innovative PD by Jennifer Gonzalez on CultOfPedagogy.com


– The PD content is provided by the guests of the meeting, not a scheduled host

– A schedule is sent out and attendees schedule a block to present

– Giving people opportunities to bond and shine helps them feel appreciated, meanwhile a lack of effort can create an environment where people always leave

Intentional Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

– Can sometimes be a grade-level or content team, but works better as a group of professionals with a shared interest or motivation

– Small, intimate groups that regularly meet to set goals, talk through problems, do book studies, and hold each other accountable for growth

– Can be formalized by administration establishing groups with specific focuses

Choice Boards

– A schedule of PD options are presented with some time commitment, but largely allows people to practice in their own time

– Allows people to follow interest/needs and apply skills practically

– Offers “credit” for things people may be doing independently already

– Can be like a BINGO board

Personal Action Plans

– People write an action plan for their personal learning goals, often with an attached component of sharing this with colleagues

– Can be quarterly meetings to go over successes, failures, and adjustments

– Can be used in conjunction with PLCs

Voluntary Piloting

– A small group of volunteers adopt a new initiative as a way to test its success for the organization at large

– Allows identification of strengths and weaknesses with lower cost and risk

Peer Observation

– Invite peers to observe, find successes and weaknesses, and provide assistance


– People earn “badges” for completing learning pathways or challenges ahead of time

– Cover variety of topics and allow people to choose what interests them

– Conveniently asynchronous, externalizes tasks

Blended Learning

– PD is offered asynchronously, often online, and people submit some marker of completion or understanding to administration

Lab Classrooms

– A host demonstrates a strategy while their peers observe

– Typically includes pre-observation work, co-teaching with a coach, and a debriefing

– Can vary in scope and time-invested