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What Professional Development Can Learn from Zumba


Professional Learning is a key to success in schools and in many organizations. Having recently attended my first Zumba class, I couldn’t help but think that professional development can learn a little about adult learning and engagement from Zumba.

In many towns and cities, the Zumba craze has caught on. What is Zumba? Zumba is a dance and exercise class. People attend  to stay healthy, to dance, to socialize. Why is it so wildly popular? Staying healthy is the main motivator but it’s most salient feature is that people have FUN  doing it!

  • Zumba teaches you something new – Dance and exercise moves
  • Zumba is good for you – Exercise on multiple levels – Cardio, Stretching, Dance
  • Zumba encourages people at every level of fitness – Beginner to expert are welcomed
  • Zumba is something you do can easily do with friends – It is social

The will to learn is an intrinsic motive, one that finds both its source and its reward in its own exercise. Jerome Bruner

Of course, you may not wish to hold a professional development classes where there is loud music and sparkly outfits
but you might want to take a some inspiration from the Zumba craze when engaging adult learners. The focus of all professional development is learning. The focus of quality professional development in education is to have a positive impact on student learning. Professional development planners and administrators make adult learning and the resulting student learning a top priority.  Consider incorporating  these ideas when next planning a professional development program.

Creating Engaging Professional Development

_Make it available at regular, predictable intervals. Make followup easy to find.
_Keep it short.  Make it no longer than an hour
_Make it interactive, engaging. Show interesting and useful skills. Present in an easy to learn manner. Play music too!
_Keep the focus on learning and content. Tie the PD to ongoing aims of the school/organization. – Keep the focus on healthy
_Make it social.  Build in collaboration. Work with a partner. Get some help from your friends. Bring a friend.
_Offer support at every level. Welcome all levels from expert to beginner. Allow people to go at their own pace, be self directed.  Build in friendly feedback. Make it scalable.
_Keep it practical. Make people want to return – Make the time worthwhile to the learner
_Encourage creativity – Encourage people to build upon what they learn, innovate and create.

Related Resources

Professional Learning Communities Online – TechConnects

Teacher Leaders – TechConnects

Adult Learning Theory – MCREL

Adult Learning Resources – Educause


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