99: Development FIRST





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Development FIRST Steps

(David Peterson and Mary Dee Hicks)

  1. Focus on priorities:
    • What are the most important skills in your development plan?
    • Select 1-2 areas.
    • Work with focus areas for 1-2 months before moving on.
    • Figure out:
      • where are you know and where do you want to go?
      • what are you actually going to do differently?
      • what are the impacts of these changes?
  2. Implement something every day.
    • At least  5 min per day on development (micro initiative that might grow to macro impacts)
    • Seek out situations with:
      • High stakes and visibility
      • Novelty to stretch your comfort zone
      • Challenges that require you to do more than you’ve done in the past
      • Interactions that require you to work with non-subordinates
    • In these situations ask:
      • Can I take a risk each day?
      • How can I use my strengths?
      • What resources do I need?
      • What do I need to face?
  3. Reflect on your experience.
    • What have you learned from successes and mistake?
    • Write each day:
      • proudest moment
      • high light of the day
    • Look for patterns in reflections
  4. Seek feedback and support:
    • the more people you involve, the more chance of success
    • Supporters can give you
      • feedback
      • direction
      • new strategies
      • support
      • motivation
      • accountability
    • Guiding questions
      • Who are the best people to support you?
      • Who are the best people to get feedback from?
      • Can you tell them what you need and how they can help?
      • What kind of feedback is unhelpful?
      • How can you foster mentoring relationships with them?
  5. Transfer learnings into next steps:
    • Codify successes into patterns, resources, and supports needed to move forward
    • When success occurs:
      • write down success steps
      • ask others what they saw you do that was helpful
      • teach someone else how you did it
      • teach your learning to your team
      • ask others to hold you accountable to better patterns and make you aware of when you’re slipping back into old habits


There are so many skills teachers can acquire to become better educators.  With so many options out there, it’s sometimes hard to choose and stick to a development plan that will lead to substantial change and success in any one area.  Following the steps above can help teachers and students achieve goals that relate to tricky change efforts.


Preparation Steps
  • For teacher development plans:
    • Do an inventory of the teaching strategies and skills you would like to master to become a better teacher
    • Prioritize your inventory – seek out 1-2 focus areas
    • Brainstorm how you can take small risks each day to learn something new about your focus areas
    • Recruit people who can offer support, advice and feedback
  • For student development plans
    • Help students use learning targets to identify 1-2 focus areas
    • Research and develop scaffolding strategies, tools and activities that students can implement every day to become more skilled focus areas
    • Have students assume appropriate roles in development plans – thought partners, observers, feedback partners – train students how to perform roles well
Early Implementation Steps
  • For teacher development plans:
    • Keep record of risk tried each day and related learnings
    • Supplement notes with advice, feedback and observations from support team
  • For student development plans:
    • Have students record what they tried and what they learned from it.
    • Have student supplement their reflections with advice and observations from their support teams.
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • For teacher and student development plans:
    • Look for patterns in successes in journal entries
    • Identify the most effective strategies
    • Solidify the HOW in the effective strategies by teaching them to another team member
    • Identify new patterns you’d like to convert into routines
    • Recruit an accountability team that will let you know when you are sticking to new routines and when you’re slipping back into old habits



One thought on “99: Development FIRST

  1. I appreciate the efforts you people put in to share blogs on such kind of topics, it was indeed helpful. Keep Posting!

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