Learning for teachers isn’t limited by the walls any more. We can share ideas, discuss our practice, learn with and from other educators outside our own institutions. Skype allows us to collaborate with anyone, anywhere, (almost) any time.
On a cold, wintry morning, twenty educators rose early for an a voluntary professional learning session before school hours.
Kathleen and Kelly are a couple of vivacious and energetic, young teachers at a school a couple of hours away from ours. They were in their classroom early, supported by their principal Ruth, to share their experience and advice with us via Skype. At my school, teachers gathered in the library to further their own learning about class blogging to promote literacy.
Many of our teachers started class blogs this year for the first time. A few were blogging with their classes last year. None are bloggers themselves.
Kathleen and Kelly talked us though their class blog and explained how it is an integral part of teaching and learning literacy. They answered questions about how to encourage students to blog and parents to comment. We saw a delightful video of students talking about the benefits of blogging. We were shown evidence of students’ progress in writing, through the development of their comments on the blog. Teachers left the session inspired to move their own class blogs forward, armed with new ideas and examples.
As always, here’s what I learned:
- Teachers enjoy learning from other real, live teachers, sitting in their own classrooms.
- Hearing voices from outside can be powerful, even if they say the same things voices inside have already said.
- There are incredible, generous educators out there, willing to share with anyone who is open to learning from them.
- Passion and love of learning are contagious.
- Offering every kind of support, when people are ready, is an effective way to instigate change.
- Teaching is changing. Ways of learning are changing. The possibilities are endless.
- A head of school who makes breakfast so his teachers can learn is an example to all.
- If you have an idea, run with it. Don’t wait for a better time, particular conditions or permission to try. What’s the worst that can happen?