Choose your own learning…

Who chooses your professional learning?

In our professional learning survey at the end of 2012, the vast majority of staff indicated that they would like to use the coming PD day to work on personal learning choices, individually or in small groups.

The guidelines given to staff across the three campuses of our primary school:

Bear in mind that it is a professional learning  day and hence should not be used for catching up on paper work!

Over to YOU…

  1. Consider your personal learning goals, passions, interests, areas you’d like to strengthen or things you’ve learned but haven’t had time to explore…
  2. Talk to your colleagues (not just your year level teams), Learning Team Leaders, Campus Heads and Coordinators.
  3. Decide on what you think you’d like your focus to be for the day.
  4. Note that you will be asked for your reflections on both process and achievements after the day.
  5. Please fill in this form.
  6. Please indicate if you’d like help forming a group with others who share your interests (cross campus).

Your reflection will include something along these lines.

  • What did you achieve on the day?
  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • What are your challenges?
  • How will you continue forward?
  • What did you notice about yourself as a learner?

The plans so far…

  • A couple of teachers have decided to spend the day familiarising themselves and creating movies with iMovie, so that they can use it to capture their students’ learning in a meaningful way
  • A group of teachers will work through Making Thinking Visible, exploring the thinking routines and how to use them to develop a culture of thinking.
  • Several teachers have teamed together to explore ways to use maths manipulatives.
  • One group, comprising a teacher from each year level, will explore educational apps and how they might best support learning across the curriculum.
  • The Prep teachers are exploring Matt Glover’s approach to literacy. They have been reading his books and will use the day to share their learning and consider how to apply it in their classrooms.
  • A couple of teachers have chosen to visit the Apple Shop for one-on-one training with their new iPads.
  • A group of second language teachers will investigate language games that will assist in differentiating learning.

I’m a great fan of the work of Sugata Mitra, regarding self organised learning… for children. It’s quite interesting to note that, given a full day to organise and explore anything they like, there are some teachers who find themselves wondering what to do with their time…

As always, our professional learning day is based on the same learning principles on which we strive to base all teaching and learning in our school. 

Once you’re clear what you believe about learning, it’s easy to build learning opportunities and experiences for learners of all ages.

  • We learn in different ways, depending on abilities, learning styles, preferences and interests.
  • Learning takes place through inquiry: questioning, exploring, experimenting and problem solving.
  • Learning occurs by acquiring skills and knowledge, constructing meaning and transfer to other contexts.
  • Learning is active and social and best takes place through collaboration and interaction.
  • Learning takes place when we feel secure, valued and are able to take risks.
  • Learning needs to be challenging, meaningful, purposeful and engaging.
  • Learning includes meta-cognition and reflection, and requires learners to take ownership of their learning.

Given a day like ours, what would you choose to do?

19 thoughts on “Choose your own learning…

  1. Reblogged this on Educationsupportuk and commented:
    I always loved the challenging discussions around Professional development when it was my job to arrange all In Service Training. The biggest question as with teaching children is how to get the best or relevant topics for your most experienced teachers as well as the new teachers. This is often a hard call as training together in a large hall means that probably the average educator gets more than the two ends of the spectrum unless the development topic is focussed on them. So I wholeheartedly agree with this idea as this allows personal development to happen within a structured and sound environment. I hope it proves useful for you.


  2. Student inquiry, differentiation and engagement are embedded in our culture at Way Elementary School, so our Visible Thinking Coordinator and Media Specialist developed a year long Teacher Inquiry Project for our professional development. There is excitement and trepidation as each of us pursues a wondering we have about our own classroom and practice.


  3. I just wrote a post on my blog about my next steps and possibilities and it would be difficult for me to choose. It’s definetily related to technology:
    – Inquire into Google tools and how to integrate them in teaching.
    – Develop my PLN and finding ways to let my students experience the benefits to have a learning network.
    – Set up a Tech Tuesday, a regular meeting, to share with other who are interested.

    Let’s see … 🙂


  4. Reblogged this on TepTech and commented:
    I love this blog and it is always helpful to me. This post hit the nail on the head for our upcoming professional development day. Thank you Edna for writing great stuff!


  5. Great blog. Reminded me of a chapter in Dan Pink’s book Drive that describes the “Fedex Day” – as a school we brainstormed what that could look for us, but our dreams were never realized. I look forward to reading your follow up on this great initiative with your school.


  6. Great learning from your blog! We also tried something like this in our school. Worked out well albeit a few hiccups. Insights provided by you will be very helpful in fine tuning it. Thank a lot!


  7. What powerful PD! I love that you were able to really access what teachers were interested in and allow them to freedom to inquire. Your comment about teachers not being sure how to use the whole day to learn is a fascinating one and really does make me wonder what we have done in schools to mix up the learning process for teachers. I think adults need more opportunities like this to learn about a topic to for the sake of learning… Thanks for sharing!


  8. Great concept! A day like this can be a wonderful opportunity to explore different avenues and try new concepts. Monday should be an exciting day and I look forward to hearing how everything goes.


  9. Hi Edna, I know this is an old post, but I’ve referred back to it a few times over the last 6 months as I plan to launch Professional Inquiry Groups in my school this year. I modified your “learning principles” to use as the guiding principles in my introduction to these groups. Will keep you updated as to how it goes!


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