I think if the situation is meaningful and relevant, then the learner (or the teacher) will be engaged. If learners and teachers aren't engaged, then maybe the powers that be (admin or teachers) need look at what they are doing and how they are presenting it.
I agree with Pat Hensley. My district has been greatly improving its staff development. Instead of experts coming in and lecturing us for 6 hours straight, we have teachers from our district who are using what they are teaching. The use best practices in their presentations. They don't drone on for 6 hours reading us power points. I took a Running Records class last Thursday. We spent the time actually practicing and getting feedback. We were given breaks when tired, and we actually got out early when we finished early. The only exceptions to this change are our GT workshops. I spent 6 hours not being able to hear what the presenter was saying because the school to my right and the school behind me were running their mouths. The only time I heard what he was saying is when I was asked to go fix his projector.
I agree with both of you. Still, this seems to be the case at most staff development sessions. I can understand them being boring sometimes, but it's very annoying when the person behind you is having a conversation at full volume the whole time...
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