Back to the Future - Why professional development for teachers is important.

Author: Brad Howard   Date Posted:5 December 2016 

I am a big fan of Netflix due to me not wanting to watch advertisements and I also like to watch TV when it suits me. Most Friday nights it is movie night in our house due to four young kids. We take it in turns of picking movies and four weeks ago it was Dad’s choice so I chose an old classic “Back to the Future”. It was a winner with the kids and we watched the three movies over the three weeks. 


These movies really made me stop and think about our view of the future and the professional development presented to educators. The movies went way forward to  …… 2015!. Yes we have been passed that year and my kids were saying “why are we NOT flying around on hoverboards and why DON’T we have flying cars by now???” The big thing that struck me was the fact that even though we (and movie makers) try and predict the future, there are so many variables that can lead humanity on different tangents and unpredictable events that change our course. The few things that we can be assured of is that life is unpredictable, technology is the instigator of our rapidly changing environment and there will always be problems to solve.

no greater need right now when conducting professional development than to get my clients (students, teachers, other educators) to step outside the daily grind and open their minds to problems, possibilities, creativity and solutions. Now more than ever we have to accept failure as a means to success. We must innovate, create, experiment, explore, question and challenge. I was a classroom teacher in an era when competition was a “dirty” word as we didn’t want our kids to face failure. We now live in a global society where competition is at its fiercest as each country tries to find its niche to survive. The students in Australian schools are no longer competing against each other, they are now competing with students in India, United States, China, England, Brazil, etc. Now the global financial explosion has slowed, education has become the corner stone of success in the global world.


So as much as we may wish to stay in our comfort zone and be comfortable with the “now” and not challenge ourselves to make changes, we have to ask ourselves “are we doing a discredit to the future of our kids?” Our professional development choices should be based on trying to find workshops that challenge us, extend us and question the NOW so we can better be prepared for our future. We can certainly not go back to the future but definitely explore the possibilities the future may present us!


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