Agenda-less PD?

As I wait for the plane home now that ECOO 2013 is over, I’m thinking about teachers’ professional learning. I remembered and just reread Andrew Campbell‘s “Hacking Your Professional Development” and find his advice to be still awesome. Teachers should take control.
But I’m in a central role as an e-Learning Contact, so I am also that guy planning those eye-roll-inducing PD sessions. And I’d rather not do a bad job of the sessions I host, really. I’ve tried a few things to improve my work in this area:

  1. Provide a menu. If people can choose from a list of possibilities, perhaps they can get what they need.
  2. Inspire instead of train. I don’t find showing people technical details really helps them to persevere. Showing possibilities might.
  3. Share resources that are useful. If someone can use something right away, maybe they will.

But after hearing from Donna Fry about EdCamps, I keep thinking that there is a missing component: teachers should choose from everything, not just from a list. I don’t really know what everyone needs; it’s pretty arrogant to think I could even do a mediocre job of planning their learning for them with a bunch of formative work first. And I shouldn’t be the expert, but just one of the many resources people can reference.
I had someone ask me on Wednesday to explain how I configure something in the learning environment. I didn’t need to create a PowerPoint presentation first; in fact, I didn’t anticipate that anyone would ask me about it. We just got together and talked for a few minutes, and he walked away with a plan.
What would happen if a bunch of teachers got together in a room for half a day with these two instructions?:

  1. You can’t complain.
  2. You need to learn from each other.

(I don’t think all groups of teachers would need that first instruction, but some would.)
I think the learning would be tremendous. I know that every time I get together with other tech-minded educators, I’m inspired and motivated (and educated, really). Shouldn’t everyone have this opportunity? Let’s try this.

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One thought on “Agenda-less PD?

  1. Yes! Teachers taking charge of their own professional learning needn’t be just about deciding which course to fork over $600 to a faculty of Ed. for. Learning needs to move beyond the boundaries of the school board and faculty of ed. walls just like it needs to in the classroom.

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