Teachers teaching teachers!

Whole school professional development days don’t always please everyone. People aren’t always at the same stage of development, after all, and not everyone has the same PD needs.

Today was an exception. All sessions were presented by teachers for teachers and it was a resounding success!

The morning was divided into three one-hour sessions, where teachers were invited to ‘give one, take 2’.  Some teachers were asked to present on external PD workshops they had previously attended, while others volunteered to present on topics of their choice. Some preferred the comfort of presenting together with one or two peers.  All teachers selected which workshops they wanted to participate in.

Sessions included such things as…

  • The value of class blogs and how to get started
  • Reading blogs for our own professional development
  • Supporting learning through drama
  • The role of the arts in teaching
  • Maths for kids at risk
  • How to create a slideshow using Kizoa
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Using ToonDoo across the curriculum
  • Creating a culture of thinking in the classroom
  • iPods for learning
  • The role of occupational therapy in school

In the afternoon, we had a whole school session, showcasing the learning from K-6 through one trans-disciplinary theme,  ‘How we express ourselves’. Teachers who hadn’t facilitated workshops in the morning were responsible for these presentations. It’s so easy to focus on your own class or the year level that you teach. This was a wonderful opportunity to see how learning progresses and thinking develops  from 3 year olds, up through the primary years.

It was apparent that we have an amazing bunch of teachers across our 3 campus, K-6 Primary School! Teachers love to learn from other teachers and appreciated the fact that they could choose their own learning. Some found that preparing for their workshops  made them revisit PD they’d attended and helped them consolidate what they had learned. Many valued the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and present to their peers for the first time (although some only valued it after their sessions were over!)

teachers

Here are a few samples of teacher feedback…

  • A fantastic range of choices and wonderful to learn from colleagues.
  • The presentations were great and I’ve already set up a class blog.
  • The workshops were so inspiring, it would have been better if they were half an hour longer.
  • Great to have staff present as they understand our environment and challenges.
  • It was great to see what goes on in the rest of the school and that we’re all on the same page.
  • I loved seeing the learning journey, where they came from and where they are going to.
  • Great opportunity to hear colleagues share their knowledge and experiences.
  • The morning sessions were interesting, informative and practical. Loved them!
  • We do great things. I had no idea so much was happening!!

We’ll definitely be doing this again!!

 

19 thoughts on “Teachers teaching teachers!

  1. Thank you for the post! It’s wonderful to hear the words “by teachers for teachers”, your right many dislike whole school CPD days as PD needs are different for each and every one of us. However learning from your own environment from time to time is significant, the relevancy of the environment can significantly impact upon learning. Teachers don’t have to imagine applying principles in their schools but they can immediately relate and see it physically in practice. Most other professions in the world learn within their own environment, seeks professional guidance, support and encouragement from their internal teams, so why shouldn’t we do this within the teaching environment. Teachers are in-house experts, which is evident from your post.

    Each school has a pool of fantastic teachers, educational staff and leaders, a natural community, but one that can be quite often forgotten in every day teaching and learning. Group sessions as you described is an effective entry method to this community, one that can be united by common ground, an area to chat about your daily activities in an environment that is not just friendly but one that understands you, validates your concerns and ultimately has the shared expertise and relevant answers and best practice examples to support everyday lives, impact teaching & learning positively!

    Blogging is such a great tool for PD, there is a particular teacher i follow who writes particularly well and clearly utilises the opportunity for PD. http://www.oliverquinlan.co.uk/blog/?page_id=293 also available on twitter @oliverquinlan.

    I look forward to your future posts!

    Thanks Again

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  2. A great post! Thank you for sharing. We have just had 2 days of PD with very similar inquiry focus! I presented on Blogging and really enjoyed it. I find that teachers find this less stressful and are more willing to take part!

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  3. Todays PD was amazing and inspiring. Ours is a three campus school, but because of time restraints , one doesn’t really get a chance to share ideas and benefit from each others’ expertise. Today I learned just how generous and ready to share my wonderful colleages are! I feel energised to try out 21st Century technology because it was amazing to see first hand how blogs and skype open up a classroom to the world, and I now know where to seek help with implementing this!
    This afternoon the teachers shared in each others teaching and learning as a whole school. It gave me such a buzz to see the children that I taught in 3 year old kinder (who are now in Prep) expressing themselves so confidently through drama. It was a really great and inspiring day celebrating the learning journey from K-6!

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  4. So inspiring to read about such a positive whole school professional development day. It’s true that these days can often be seen in a negative light but it just goes to show that it’s all about the PD being relevant to the teachers involved.

    It definitely seems to me that you are all teaching in a supportive and progressive environment. I am sure that the learning will spiral from here!

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  5. Thanks for sharing this event. I’ve been involved in whole school professional development sessions where teachers opt for a workshop to attend and from my experience, teachers appreciate the opportunity to select which one is most appropriate to them. For me, this is the way forward: make it relevant!

    Also, i’m a big believer in professional development being a shared responsibilty from the entire staff of a school. We should spot talent and encourage them to think about the most effective ways of sharing good practice. Essentially, your school is encouraging others to be leaders in their fields. And this will pay huge dividends.

    We should also not forget the courage that it takes for colleagues to lead such sessions. I always show my appreciation for attending sessions by thanking them afterwards due to the risks that they are taking by facilitating them. I’d be interested to hear about what the people who led the sessions learnt from them.

    By the way, I loved how you used Skype to communicate with people around the world during your session. How about that for risk taking: love it!

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    1. Thanks Jamie. It served a double purpose too…to model how easy it can be to make global connections via Skype. Teachers were inspired to give that a try in future (although not the aim of my session!!)

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  6. This is great and I am so excited to hear that your school took the steps to make this work! YES! I can’t wait to share this with my administration. This is the way to go as far as in-school PD. We are our own resources and experts. It’s silly to not utilize the great talents we have in our own schools and as we worry about budgets, this seems like a no brainer.

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  7. Reading about this brought a message of HOPE. Teachers are often the target of whats wrong in education – therefore bring in the experts to fix [them]. Whats different about this story is that it [professional learning] comes from inside the organisation which gives great hope that collectively we can not only learn from one another but together resolve some of the bigger “things”.

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    1. Thanks, Mark. The idea of bringing in outside experts to fix education amuses me. Much of what’s wrong with the education system is the aspects imposed by outside experts! (eg standardized testing which reflects a very small aspect of learning.)

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  8. We also have PD presented by teachers. We call it, “Out the door by 4” and it is on different topics picked by the presenter. All we do is to come up with an idea, ask around to see if anyone is interested, and email people to se which day is the best. The PD is done after school for about an hour.

    It’s been great to see my fellow teachers present their ideas – they have so much to give. It’s also way cheaper to do the PD and we get a wide range of ideas presented. Last year we had 10 different teachers do a PD event for a total of over 18 events. Someone usually brings snacks and drinks and it’s been really fun.

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  9. I really like the “give 1, take 2” concept. It supports the notion–for teachers as learners–of differentiated learning that we want for students.

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  10. I was one of the teachers being taught by teachers mentioned in this post – i felt energised and excited by each session and have set myself goals as a direct result of the skills i acquired. I still feel inspired by what i learned on this day and that in itself is testimony to the passion of the teachers presenting and the impact they had on my teaching and learning.

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  11. That is fantastic! PD is so much more relevant when it is led by teachers who really understand the culture of the classroom. It is also a great way to highlight and celebrate the talent you have around you. So often we bring someone from the outside in for PD when there is so much talent untapped right within the walls.

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  12. We have one day a year called “I want to know what you know” where all sessions are presented by staff members.

    It is cool to hear about other models being used. I like the name and format of “Out the door by 4”.

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  13. The idea of fellow teachers presenting to each other is wonderful! Having teachers present their ideas to each other seems like a create way to build teacher unity in the school as well as giving teachers opportunities to talk about what they have tried and become good at.

    Teaching to each other really is effective professional development. The teachers at my school meet every Tuesday mornings with a topic in mind to work on in small groups, then discuss as a whole. It provides some benefit because we are bouncing ideas of one another, but it lacks a real connection between what we learn and what the students then learn in the classroom. It would be great to see a PD sessions like the one you described where I can attend a session by one of my colleagues on a strategies and practices I am eager to learn more about.

    I will be talking with my fellow teachers about setting up a PD “conference” like this one at our school.

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