‘There is never enough time‘ is a frequent cry by teachers around the world.
It was one of the reasons for handing over ownership of our PD day last week to the teachers. After an initial survey on effective professional learning , it was clear that teachers would value an entire day to pursue their own learning.
The teachers’ reflections are a clear indication of the day’s success.
Thanks to Kath Murdoch for suggesting that we ask what they noticed about themselves as learners…
- I am very focused when I am genuinely interested.
- My learning is more effective and enjoyable in small groups.
- I’m still learning new things after many years of teaching – there’s always something new to try. I’m becoming more confident in using computers as I get time to try out new ideas for the classroom.
- I am best with with like minded people that work at my pace. I am quite easily intimidated when i am unsure of what I am doing. I need to practise what I learn as much as possible, just like the students..
- Today I tried really hard when working with a group to sit back and let them lead the discussion rather then coming with my own agenda.
- I get flustered easily when I do not believe in the essence of something. Maybe some of my students have the same issue and I will try to understand them better.
- If I am motivated the learning is easy. If I find something overwhelming or daunting I need to break it down and take one step at a time.
- I am being a risk taker which I usually am not. Even thinking of starting a blog is quite scary as it is very new.
- I was really looking forward to our PD today because I was able to choose what our learning was about and what was relevant to me.
- I am calmer and more patient in my approach. If it does not work, I try again without getting flustered.
- We learn much better collaboratively. We become more inspired by bouncing different ideas around.
- I like to read something over and process it on my own before really talking about it with others. Happy to talk/chat after about it, but prefer to absorb/take it all in on my own.
- I think more slowly than most people I work with, and I require the time to contemplate things. Once I have allowed myself that time, I can think as clearly as others.
- I wouldn’t have survived today without a certain flexibility and ability to change some of the plans as we went.
- When I direct my learning I become responsible for it.
- I love collaborating. It is great to learn with others and to throw ideas around was very refreshing and reassured me that I am on the right track.
- Thank you for today for having the opportunity to go on personal journey and a time to catch my breath and move forward in the areas I needed.
There is much for teachers to take away, not just from what they worked on, but from their process, their challenges and from what they noticed about themselves as learners. They can apply what they learned from all of those in their classrooms.
Messages to take back to the classroom:
Learning is enhanced when…
- Learners have a say in their learning.
- Learning is meaningful, purposeful and engaging.
- Learners choose when to work alone and when to collaborate.
- Learners have enough time to think, learn, practice and apply…
…which takes us back to where we started: ‘There isn’t enough time’.
And there will never be enough time, for as long as…
- Governments dictate crowded national curricula .
- Schools introduce too many new programs which teachers need to master and integrate.
- Administrators exert pressure and demand results in national standardised tests.
- School days are divided by bells into arbitrary chunks of time between which students often have to move classrooms.
- Schools don’t stop to reflect on the things they have always done and how much learning time each takes.
- Teachers don’t stop to reflect critically on the way learning time is used.