Flip The Switch for Professional Learning

Do our teachers feel like this? And if so, what do we need to do to help get the light switch more visible?

@SHIFTPARADIGM


IMG_3022 (3) Ask a teacher about professional learning, she will tell you exactly what she needs and why she needs it. You will then hear how she expects to learn through the same robust, relevant, and collaborative approaches that she uses everyday with her students. Ask the same of other teachers you will get similar responses.

Well, most of the time. That was not the case yesterday. When I asked a teacher friend about her professional learning she blindsided me with an account of her nightmare  the previous night.

The nightmare begins with a teacher standing in darkness, no light, not one iota. She extends her arms forward, nothing there; reaches up, nothing, reaches behind, a wall greets her hands.

As she touches the wall, a bell rings. A disembodied voice booms, “Please proceed to the other side of the room.” The teacher cries out, “What am I doing here? Why go…

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Change and Vision: Where will we (should we) be in five years?

Is it true – might there be no difference in five years?pencil

I was just reading a blog about ways to make big differences in the life of education (Ross Cooper: Three Ways to Promote Noticeable Differences ) and the question was asked that if we returned from a five year sabbatical would
we notice a
difference.

To answer that I think back to five years ago.  In some ways there are no major changes in our system.  However, in many ways we have moved in huge leaps and bounds.  On the one hand, we are still worried about EQAO and not getting the scores that the province wanted for us.  On the other hand, we have student voice as a huge part of our decision making.  We are listening to grass roots input and trying to hear the needs of the student and classroom as our loudest input for change.

We have more technology – although it is largely still used as substitution in the SAMR model (see Kathy Schrock’s description and quick video for an overview of what the SAMR model is about if you want more information).  We have many more devices available, have started a BYOD model in the high school and have started to help primary students learn to code.  However, the pockets are not deep and they are not wide-spread enough to be called the norm of our system.

So, do we need to follow the suggestions of the blog and define our vision, say no to things not in the plan and do more with less in terms of PD?

I feel like it might be a great idea to try to have a laser focus on the vision.  What exactly do we want our system to look like in five years?  Can we define the parameters and chart the path?  There would be many people disappointed when their “pet peeve” was not part of the big plan.  There would be many hard decisions to make (possible including having to refuse some ministry initiatives and funding) and we would have to stay the course.

My fear would be that a strict adherence to a plan for five years from now might not have the foresight necessary and might bring us to a destination not worthy of the journey.

What do you think?  Have we made progress?  Do we need a tighter vision and firmer adherence to “the plan”?