Do you wish you had more time for your own learning? Would you like to have time to explore new ideas and reflect on things you have learned?
Over the past few years, we’ve abandoned the one-size-fits-hardly-anyone approach to PD and experimented with a range of other approaches to professional learning. I’ve written before about focus groups, choosing our own people, teacher led inquiries, teachers directing their own learning etc
Now we are adding another layer. We already have regular twice a week after school sessions, which sometimes include whole staff requirements and, more often, year-level teams deciding for themselves how they need to spend their time, be it planning, reflecting, moderating student work or calling parents.
We are now setting aside two or three of these afternoons per term for personal learning groups. Teachers have the opportunity to choose an area of interest to explore independently or in groups. For many, the choice is something they’ve been meaning to look into but haven’t found the time for. New groups have formed and teachers are learning with people outside of their usual teams. Some have chosen to broaden their knowledge by exploring topics outside of their usual teaching areas.
The approach is less formal than it was the first time we experimented with self-organised professional learning. A rough list was created on a google doc so that people could find others with common interests and, for the rest, teachers are guiding their own learning, making decisions, gathering resources and selecting their chosen paths.
Last week’s sessions had teachers engaged in reading, discussing and thinking about the following:
- Matt Glover’s approach to engaging young writers
- How to enrich vocabulary
- Using data to inform teaching and learning
- Visible thinking
- Open ended iPad apps to develop oral language
- Effective school timetables
- Student wellbeing
- and more…
We’re always seeking ways to build our learning community.
Isn’t that what school should be about?
6 thoughts on “Always building our learning community…”
Yes that’s what school should be all about. Sounds like good things happening. I think that if you can get a group of teachers to essentially agree that building a learning community is a shared goal, then things will happen.
As you know I have been following! Perhaps, my short play with a technology time capsule curriculum may be of some use to your readers (i.e. teachers) with an interest in developing student-centered learning experiences (via matrices). The material may be sampled or purchased for .99 (with unlimited use “in the classroom”) @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman
Click on the manuscript: A Discovery of Technological Systems.
This work is approximately 10 pages that are comprised of dialog (i.e. play) and the teacher guide with suggested activities and assessment strategies.
I wish this is what PD would be like at our school! Sounds a great way to spend meeting times and PD sessions. Thanks for sharing.
I love the idea of a couple of afternoons a term to explore areas of interest with other like-minded colleagues.