10 people whom you might know…

It’s the start of the school year and we are organizing planning times. Collaborative planning is one of the things I like best about the PYP. A team of teachers gathers to plan the big ideas and key learning experiences for a coming unit of inquiry. There are usually at least six participants; the grade level teachers, ICT facilitator and librarian. Where possible, there might be other specialist teachers present too and if not, they will be consulted.

Facilitating these sessions is both rewarding and challenging, sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilarating. It depends on how much the big ideas excite us, how much pre-thinking has been done and the level of collaboration and creativity on the day.

And it depends on the members of the team….

Disclaimer: The characters in this post are fictitious and bear no resemblance to real teachers. Unless maybe they work at your school?

1. Innovator
Suggests new and exciting ways to do things.

Carefully considers all angles to find the best approach.

3. Risk Taker
Willing to give anything a go. Not intimidated by the possibility of failure.

4. Waiter
Comes unprepared. Waits passively for others to do the thinking.

5. Blocker
Actively blocks others’ ideas. Talks about why they wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t work.

6. Provoker
Asks valuable, thought provoking questions that ensure a productive outcome.

7. Distractor
Interrupts. Talks about irrelevant matters. Might even sing in the background.

8. Historian
Likes the way it was taught in the past. Talks about old ideas and old ways.

9. Resourcer
Shares great resources to support the learning. Knows where to find treasure.

10. Know-it-all
Talks knowledgeably in a loud voice and rolls eyes disapprovingly when others express different opinions.

Do you know any of them?

13 thoughts on “10 people whom you might know…

  1. Hi Edna,

    How great to have organised planning time. This should be standard in all schools.

    Your roles made me laugh – I think we all know these people! 🙂

    I’m lucky to work in a great new team this year with no historians, waiters, know-it-alls and blockers!



  2. Why I believe I have met each of those persons you describe. Thank goodness that some are often one or the other on any particular day. They are found in any business, school, etc. that does planning.

    I must say that I am a bit jealous of your school planning days. In some of the schools I know there is time for it, but it lacks facilitation and doesn’t always bring about Big Idea thinking.

    Good luck on the new year.


  3. Oh I’m sure we’ve all met or worked with colleagues who fit these categories to some extent or another Edna. As Kathleen recognised though, people can move between characters, taking different views depending on what they’re faced with. If we look closely at ourselves, perhaps we’ve also taken on several of those roles at one time or another.

    Here’s a thought or two. What if a professional development session began with presenting these character roles to the participants and asking them to consider which most reflected their attitude during the previous PD session? Or going a stage further, they were asked to place the extent that each of the 10 roles reflected their approach, on a 5 point Likert scale. Their scores could then be turned into a radar chart – a snapshot of the way they approached the previous PD … and what if all those radar charts were posted anonymously. Do they think others might recognise them in a particular chart … and if others could, what would that say about them and how would they feel about that … and what might they do about it? A matter of moments to create a Google form to do it, but just because we can doesn’t mean we should, of course!


  4. Hi Edna
    One interesting activity to use during a planning activity is to get people to play out the different roles within the group. It is interesting how we move into stereotypical roles quiet quickly when they are ‘officially’ assigned and even more interesting when you move out of your typical role into a new one. E.g the risk-taker becomes a waiter etc.



    1. HI Stephanie and Ian,
      I love the idea of using role play to change our responses.
      I think it will be fun and non confrontational too.
      Sure beats sighing and ending a planning session with a sense of frustration.
      Great ideas


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  6. Ms. Sackson, I am a student at the University of South Alabama, in Mobile, AL, USA. I am currently taking a class that introduces us to the world of blogging. Every week we are assigned to read and comment on a blog post authored by a teacher, a student, and a classmate. I am currently seeking a degree in Physical Education with a teaching certification. I plan on coaching American Football at the High School level.

    I enjoyed reading this blog post! I am a 32 year old husband and father of 5. I can definitely relate to the list you provided. We have group planning activities on a daily basis! When I read the #7 on the list, I actually laughed out loud… I think my children take turns playing this role.

    I hope your planning goes well and I look forward to watching how your next couple of months plays out!

    Robert Freeland


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