The joys of preparing for our Unleashing Learning conference lie in the collaboration, opportunities for growth, teacher involvement, the sense of shared purpose, the risk taking, the willingness to help…
This morning’s ‘workshop workshop’ is a session for teachers who are not yet experienced presenters. For our check-in, we discuss how we like to feel when we participate in a workshop…
What makes a workshop successful?
- Being challenged.
- Learning something new.
- Changing something about the way I think.
- Constructing meaning actively.
- An interesting, meaningful process.
- Something practical or a take-away that stays with you.
- An engaging presenter who make things personal.
- It has to make me want to take action.
- Clear expectations, purpose and flow.
- Variety and active engagement.
How will we ensure participants leave our workshops feeling these things?
We start by sharing concerns:
- What if nobody comes?
- What if it’s not engaging for participants?
- Does my workshop have enough depth and complexity?
- How do I turn ideas into an interactive workshop?
- What if the technology crashes?
We encourage our presenters to start by being clear on their objectives . What understandings do you want the participants to leave with? What do you want to achieve?
Next we unpack a structure for a successful workshop (although we agree that it need not be a linear approach) and we brainstorm ideas under the headings of:
- Introduction – What will you do to warm the participants up and tune them in?
- Provocation – How will you provoke their thinking from the start?
- Constructing meaning – How will you get participants involved in engaging with each other and with the big ideas?
- Connection – How will you/they pull it all together?
- Reflection – What protocols will you use to encourage participants to reflect and plan ahead?
By the end of the session we are buzzing. People have offered their intentions, shared creative ideas and resources and are ready to “take the workshop from inside their heads to something concrete” (Hailey).
So much learning has already been unleashed and we haven’t even got to the conference yet!