Continuing to Re-invent Professional LearningMar 07, 2023
We’ve been having the most interesting conversations with clients these past few months as professional learning becomes a part of all of our lives again. And, as is true with any significant life change, we are not going back to what we had. We are moving forward with new skills and experiences to inform our professional learning.
One innovative idea…. As I was working in Hawaii recently, the school leaders with whom I was working asked about using our micro courses as part of their synchronous and asynchronous professional learning plans. Their plan? Faculty members will be able to learn using our courses, receive their Certificate of Completion from us. They can then choose to meet with school leaders to talk about what they learned and how they are using the learning to inform their work in classrooms. School leaders will then count the courses towards PD hours and give staff a stipend.
Another innovative idea…. That emerged as we have supported teachers through the past few years in the Akwesasne Mohawk Board of Education (AMBE) the teachers have been coming together in pairs and small groups in an online learning platform with Brenda Augusta, a Connect2learning Associate, to extend their thinking about using Assessment for Learning to support student learning. Learning in community about ideas and strategies that work for the students teachers serve, strengthens all of us as learning professionals.
Another innovative idea…. A variety of different groups of secondary and elementary school teachers are using our Masterclass webinars to support their learning. They are getting together in a variety of ways - small groups, virtual pairs, larger groups - and accessing the recordings, the print materials, and arranging for live webinars when it makes sense for their learning.
Another innovative idea…. A district in Ontario is supporting high school teachers as they move to single stream in Grade 9. They have decided to use assessment in the service of learning as a research-based way to engage students more fully and to support teachers to design instructional experiences based on what students actually know and can do as shown through triangulated evidence of learning.
One innovative idea…. That came out of our work together over years… Superintendent Sandra Herbst, and many principals across River East Transcona School Division, Winnipeg, MB are structuring their faculty meetings so that there are three sections: For Learning, For Discussion, For Information. This structure engages faculty members in learning about something related to educational practices in the school division or a school community for a brief but important period of time. Learning together is prioritized, then comes discussion time, and then comes more information time.
Learning professionals know that the pathway of any significant change process builds towards what Malcolm Gladwell described as a ‘tipping point.’ The pathway to any tipping point was described by this saying attributed to Edgar Albert Guest…
“At first they said it couldn’t be done, but some were doing it. Then they said, only a special few could do it. But more were doing it. Then they said, “Why would we do it any other way?”
In this time, educational leaders need to be working with others to create the “perfect in our context” professional learning opportunities.
Call us at 1-800-603-9888 if you want to talk about what your innovative solution might be.
Anne Davies and the Connect2Learning Team
PS Thank you to the fabulous leaders with whom we work who have given permission to share their examples.