I have worked as a Professional Development Coordinator and Facilitator for educators, librarians, storytellers, corporations and a few other organizations. Defining Professional Development (PD) is basically working on developing skills in ones area of content &/or interest for growth of the individual and, in the end, for the good of the team. It’s used with Teachers to keep them moving along to help students, in corporations to stay abreast of changes in their world and hoping to make the employees more in tune with an overall goal to achieve, and it’s used by adults to better themselves or find new paths of knowledge to follow. I’m only skimming the tip of this, as there are many more levels.
As I was doing research for this, three sites that stood out to me, with deeper delving into the material are:
The Corporate Storyteller (first link above) states that it is:
It’s about getting to the core of an organization’s value proposition, and developing narratives that simply and compellingly relate “the story” to customers, prospects, investors, media, employees and others in a way that motivates them to think or act favorably.
Where on Leaning Forward, they write about PDs:
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT— The term “professional development” means a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement —
Most of this is really getting at the same thing: doing the best to inform and motivate into new areas, or as a reminder of previous learning, to promote positive action and results.
Narrative as a learning tool is at the heart of Oral Traditions (Storytelling). From Encyclopedia, Oral Traditions is explained as:
The lore (traditional knowledge and beliefs) of cultures. It is transmitted by word of mouth and consists, as does written literature, of both prose and verse narratives, poems and songs, myths, dramas, rituals, proverbs, riddles, and the like. Nearly all known peoples, now or in the past, have produced it.
When you add Storytelling Narratives to PDs, you create the possibility of connections that a lecture PD may not hold., both professionally and personally. It’s interactive, sharing, communicating orally and aurally, and it’s a great learning tool. We want to be heard, want to understand (at least, I hope so), and by not going by rote learning, you open up many possibilities.
There is a great satisfaction, I find, from the participants who really open up to this form of PD. Not everyone does, or can, and that’s a shame. It’s part of moving outside of their comfort zone in a group setting. Making the move to a safe and open environment is key to the process. It then moves beyond business dogma. Learning and growth actually can occur, and hopefully inspire to share it with others.