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THE PRINCIPALS' TRAINING CENTER
Why Micro-Credentialing Matters
By Sue Easton 01-Feb-17
Have you ever been to a workshop where you learned new skills to improve student learning in your classroom, but no one at your school was aware of your true professional growth? Have you ever felt that professional development that didn’t help you grow new skills and understandings that were directly applicable to your classroom was a waste of your time? During our October Teacher Leader Institute (TLI) in Bangkok, Thailand, we hoped to address both of these concerns by piloting the use of micro-credentials for skills and understandings developed during the course. This is how it worked. Participants were given the option of earning two levels of badges in both our “Leadership Tools for International School Teacher Leaders” and “Empowering Students through Assessment” courses. Level-one badges were based on understanding the stages of building a team or the cycle of the assessment process. Level-two badges gave participants the opportunity to demonstrate their new or enhanced skills through the creation of an effective team agenda or a contextual assessment for students. Participants who chose to complete the assignments earned an electronic badge, which they were able to post to LinkedIn, their resume, or collect electronically. All options allowed them to share their new skills with others, including colleagues, supervisors, or even potential new employers. But why do it? I asked the participants why they would or would not choose to earn micro-credentials and the feedback, from a group of people who predominantly had not heard of the option before the TLI began, was incredibly enthusiastic. A large majority planned to follow up, for reasons that included feeling more marketable when job hunting, ensuring transfer of learning, providing evidence of new skills, and providing a quick reference for PD attended. The few participants who stated that they would not complete the tasks questioned the value of the micro-credentials, since they had never heard of them before. Our research has found that organizations such as the Center for Teacher Quality, Getting Smart, and Digital Promise all support the use of micro-credentials to make PD more meaningful and effective for teachers. At the Principals’ Training Center (PTC), more meaningful and effective PD for international educators is at the core of who we are. The fact that educators can choose the skills and understandings they want to develop and master provides a level of differentiation many of us have never seen in ongoing improvement efforts. So, beginning this spring at our next Teacher Leader Institutes in London, we will be offering micro-credentials for all future PTC courses. Looking forward to hearing your feedback! firstname.lastname@example.org
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