If it works for us…

As an educator, what’s the most valuable kind of PD been for you? In what context has your most meaningful or most exciting learning taken place?

Reflecting on my own professional learning in recent times and considering what was most effective for me, has made me think… If it works for us, it should work for them.

The most valuable learning for me has been through:

1. Blogging

Writing a blog has been a tool for synthesising my thoughts, clarifying my ideas and reflecting on my practice. Commenting on other blogs and responding to comments on my own has allowed me to engage in professional dialogue.

2. Following my passions

I love technology and the possibilities it opens up for flattening classroom walls.  I have spent the past year experimenting with ways to make it happen across the school and learned a huge amount in the process.

3. Collaboration

Collaborating with my online PLN in a variety of ways has supported my learning in so many ways. I have an in-school PLN too and we achieve our best thinking and learning when we work together.

4. Global connections

The benefits of  learning from and with interesting people around the globe are immeasurable. My learning is enriched by interactions, through Twitter, blogs and Skype, with people of other cultures, different backgrounds and varied interests.

5. Owning my learning

My most valuable learning has been in areas I have chosen, not via any compulsory staff PD. We’re making sure all staff PD for next year is based on choice.

6. Knowing why

Related to the one above,  starting from the ‘why, rather than ‘what’ or ‘how” makes all the difference to learning. Matching learning to goals and interests means getting much more out of it.

7. Meaningful feedback

Sharing my learning with colleagues at school and a global audience on my blog has meant opportunities for specific feedback to push my thinking forward and help me decide where to take my learning next.

8. Not sticking to the job description (curriculum)

I have learned a huge amount in the past few years by using my initiative to explore new possibilities and create my own opportunities. If I had limited myself to what was expected, I wouldn’t have moved forward in the ways I have.

9. Being curious

Asking questions. Experimenting with new ideas. Seeking information. Making new connections. Being open-minded.

10. Focusing on learning, not on teaching

The more I have focused on learning, both my own and that of my students, the better my teaching has become. It’s that simple.

If these are the factors that have enhanced my own learning, shouldn’t I be providing my students with exactly the same sorts of learning opportunities? Shouldn’t we all?

11 thoughts on “If it works for us…

  1. That’s a wondeful list. I agree with every single one of those. If we had to order them I personally I would have your 5. Owning my learning right at the top.

    To Feedback I would add the feedback from all the students too.


  2. Like the others I agree wholeheartedly with your entire list. For me the biggest difference came when I stopped worrying about what I didn’t know (and when you teach technology, there’s a lot!) and shared with the kids what I didn’t know- and then worked with them to find answers. They love being the “techxpert” and I like watching them glow with pride.


  3. I’d have to pick #1 and #3 as the things that have helped me most. While I initially started writing on my blog as a way to chronologically reflect on my practice, starting with my student teaching, it irritated me that no one was reading. I’ve since realized that writing about my experiences and recording my thoughts has been a tremendous benefit for me both personally and professionally. It is so good for me to go back and re-read what I was thinking to see whether or not I have grown.

    Thanks for sharing your list! Good stuff!


  4. Hey! I am Sterling and I am currently attending The University of South Alabama. I am in Dr. Strange’s class and was told to comment on your blog post. I really enjoyed reading your blog post and thought that it was great to read about. I have really enjoyed learning how to work more tecnology and blogging has really helped me understand it more. Great Job!


  5. Hello!
    I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. Your list actually reminds me alot of what we have been learning and the ways we have been learning. Our class has been almost completely online based through our class blogs. Not only are we learning from assignments but also from each other when we comment on blogs every week. Furthermore, our projects are pretty much open-ended to whatever we would like to do or work on. In just these few points, we are using our blog to follow our passion about what we want to learn through collaborative work and then giving meaningful feedback to each other. These are just a couple of ways that I see our class as a similar learning style to what you wrote about.


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