Now the the 2018 school year is underway it is time to put the theory into practice and get the personalised PLD up and running.
Step 1 was to invite staff to present their ideas about what our inquiry streams would be. This took place at our staff retreat prior to the school year starting up. Ideas were presented in a ‘smackdown’ style (those of you who have attended an Educamp will be pretty familiar with this approach). If not, it is all outlined further in the slide show embedded below.
There were guidelines that presenters had to follow and some key reminders for their inquiry stream concept;
- Your inquiry stream concept needs to relate directly back to the school vision and values.
- It is an active inquiry, inquiring into an area of need that will result in improved outcomes for our learners.
- You don’t need to have all the answers! If you share an idea it is not expected that you are the leader/member of the stream.
- A little hunch could be all that is required for some great professional learning…
Staff embraced the opportunity to share their thoughts on what the professional learning context/s could be with 20 slides created and shared.
The next phase of the process took the next couple of days of the retreat to process and ended at the last session where staff had to make an indiction of which stream they wanted to be part of. This length of time was crucially important where everyone took the opportunity to consider the themes presented and reflect on which one they would like to be a part of. There were further conversations between the presenters and interested staff as they probed, questions and clarified the idea further and where it may potentially head.
Perhaps the biggest voice over this time were the comments related to;
- how hard it was going to be to choose between the streams;
- the similarities between some of the streams and the potential for some of them to be blended into one; e.g. the ones related to agency;
- that some of the streams would happen anyway as part of the charter/annual plan goals and outcomes e.g. reviewing the reporting to parents approach so didn’t need to be there.
As such when it came to the last session, where everyone had to choose an option the list had gone from 20 to ???.
My observations/reflections so far…
- Asking staff a question a simple as “What would you like to learn?” provides such a richness to the potential learning and an extra level of engagement. Effective teachers are always learning and embrace the opportunity for any PLD but I think that when they are in the driver’s seat, the engagement steps up another level. Maybe kind of related to this this…
- The more I think about it the more pleased I am of how this approach is so in tune with out vision of Empowering Agency, Innovation and Leadership. I really do think it ticks them all.
- As I consider the next step, I am wondering how prescribed it needs to be. Do I let the reigns go or do I put in place some guidelines. Firstly I know that whatever the next step looks like, it will be differentiated for different streams, just like a classroom. As i ponder this I refer back to a post by Katie Martin:
When professional learning is too standardized:
- Learning is designed for one size to fit all
- Focus on fidelity to programs, not learners
- Designed for the “average”, meets the needs of few
- Externally designed path and pace
- Lack opportunities to for voice and choice of the learners
When professional learning is too open-ended:
- Lack of clear learning goals
- Passion runs high for some and others become paralyzed by too many choices
- No one is really sure what is expected of them
- Many left to figure it out on their own
- Little follow through and lack of cohesion on a team or staff
- My professional curiosity is running high. I am so interested to see where this approach goes and how;
- staff react to/embrace etc the process once it’s underway;
- the impact on learning
- how each stream manage their own PLD and use theri resourcing
- ahhh so much to look forward to!