Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Series-Who Is Hardest To Train?

Last night on Twitter I posed this question:

Let me explain. The group I was talking about was classroom teachers. I know, I know, I have been hard on them lately. But this was not meant to be hard on teachers at all. What I was trying to understand was the opinion of the members of my PLN when it came to teacher training. Did they think that it was harder to train Elementary, Middle School or High School Teachers? Who did they feel were the group that was easy to convince when it came to adopting new technologies and who did they think would need convincing? The answers I got surprised me. Here are a few I got: (I have left out the names to protect the innocent...)

In my experience elem is the easiest, middle is much harder.

In my experience elementary are the easy adopters. High school to me needs more convincing. I think high school is harder because most (not all) are very dependent on direct instruction. Hands on Tech scares them.

Elementary need convincing due to responsibility of teaching all subjects, with little time for planning and prep.

I'd say high is the biggest challenge, middle looks easiest at 1st but elementary will go farthest when they see value.

Hmm, from my experience elem is the late and resistant adopters.

I'm helping train elem. and it definitely hasn't been easy. They seem stuck and unwilling to try new things. Elem. is all about hands-on learning. I think many don't consider using a computer or technology as "hands-on".

I think elementary because they have a hard time understanding how items apply to the younger student.

In my experience the middle/high school teachers have 1 or 2 subject areas to focus energies on and it is less daunting. Elem teachers think they don't have time in already packed days & already have projects & systems down, hard to change minds.

Early adopters=elementary. Convincing=Middle School. Resistant and defiant=high school

There were others along these same lines. What was surprising was that several people said that Elementary were the late adopters of technology and the hardest to train. In my experience I have seen just the opposite. My workshops and Professional Developments are filled with Elementary teachers eager to learn new skills because they understand their kids are so eager to use the tools. I don't see Middle School and High School teachers too often but I don't believe it is because of any of the reasons outlined above. I believe it is pressure from above. Curriculum standards, testing, time, all contribute to a lack of teachers taking part.

I am interested in what you think? Tech Trainers, who is harder to train? Who are early adopters? Who take a while. Teachers, what do you think? I look forward to reading your comments.

Before I go, I must leave you with this awesome answer I got to my question. Think about this...

Which is the hardest group to teacher group to train? Those who need training, yet are unwilling to accept or seek help. Who are easy adopters and who needs convincing? Easy adopters are those who are GOOD teachers who want to grow.


  1. Jamie Reaburn WeirJuly 17, 2009 at 7:59 AM

    I've never really had the opportunity to work with teachers other than my own secondary colleagues and it's interesting to see the interest level even amongst that group. Some are into technology, some hate it, and some are frightened. To me, it's more about the individual and their comfort level with technology rather than a specific group of teachers...

  2. I really must agree with Jamie's comment. It's not by grade level so much. I think an interesting question might be to compare teachers with 5 yr or less experience, teachers with more than 5 yr but less than 12, teachers with 12 yr or more experience.

  3. I agree with Thomas that experience plays a part, but I would also add age. I would predict that teachers under 30, on the average, are easier to train on tech than those who are more "seasoned".

  4. It may be more a matter of life stage and how that relates to realistically finding the time for professional development. Female teachers under 30 often are in their baby-raising years and those in their late 30's or early 40's are busy with children, driving kids to extracurricular activities. In my experience, older teachers have more time to investigate new ways of infusing technology into the curriculum.

  5. Steven, the last comment you shared is what I believe. I have worked mainly with elementary teachers and I found that those who use technology tools in one way or another every day are the ones who adopt early. Great post and I will be sharing it with my staff this year.