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So how did your Professional Learning go this Year?

May 17, 2013

As my school year comes to a close I think about all of the people that have influenced my thinking and my teaching, most whom I’ve never actually met. Some of whom have collaborated on projects with me, my class, many of whom who have challenged my thinking. That’s always a good thing. From  twitter chats- #pypchat, #kinderchat and #satchat to COETAIL, PYP workshops, Flat Classroom  and tech conferences. To all those awesome educators who I see online every day and sometimes get lucky enough to meet face to face. I learn from so many. On top of the world

In the end it boils down to teachers creating our own professional learning opportunities. Gone are the days where we only meet face to face for a chat and share ideas and resources. Gone are are the days where most schools have  big PD budgets. Gone are the days where the conference is a passive experience (I hope). The best conference I have been in the last 2 years is Learning2. I loved the unconferences, the laid back atmosphere. The only conference I’ve ever been to that encourages you to miss a session to hang out and make connections with others. Have your very own mini conference. Follow your interests. Most conferences have you running from one room to another.

The reason for this post is that I have come to realise that teachers cannot wait to be sent on a course or workshop. It’s up to us as professionals to create our own professional learning  opportunities. To set our own PD goals. In fact, in schools it should be an expectation. It’s also up to us to share what we’ve learned from our professional learning. This is tough. How many of us have come back from a conference with big ideas only for them to fizzle out a week later due to work overload? Routines? I think the whole ‘what to do after a conference’  to keep the learning going has been well documented. To refresh your memory click here and  here.

The point is why wait for a conference to share our knowledge? Experiences? Why shouldn’t this happen on a daily basis? Maybe it does around the water cooler, the lunch tables or in the halls but why not make it more explicit? We do it with our learners right? How do opportunities in your school present themselves to share? Would meeting times be better allocated on professional learning rather than notices and messages to staff or an endless agenda? Would valuable face to face time bet better spent sharing and cross training instead of ten’s of ‘thank you’s’ (which are important – but I’m talking in context here) and general notices?

Another factor is simply tying to motivate others around you to share. Modelling is about all one can do I am convinced. Try to show how one’s own professional learning or personal learning community makes them a better teacher and their students a better learner.

That’s why we are here. Or should be.

I guess all I really wanted to say is.. thanks!




3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2013 9:13 pm

    Bravo. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. May 20, 2013 9:44 am

    At the Australian International School we have created Teacher Inquiry Groups (TIGS) on different areas of inquiry and interest. Teachers meet together in Terms 2 and 3 and share learning back with others in a TIG celebration afternoon session at the end of Term 3. Very empowering. We have so many wonderful experts within our own schools- we just need to make the time to get together, discuss, question and share expertise with each other that is NOT a staff meeting.

  3. Neptune permalink
    May 20, 2013 7:19 pm

    Turned my school daze into a simulation – a virtual cafe from where I am nicely positioned to ‘people watch’.

    Observing director engage in nepotism, reckless delegation, arrogance, misguided and uninformed decision making, truth warping and complete abandon of front-liners during a crisis of international magnitude is to date the most revealing and priceless professional learning anyone can wish for. A 24 carrot gold, Harvard business school case study on which to base a ‘How not to…’ library.

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