Just starting to wind down after a busy month – paper submission, presentations, conference galore, etc. I just came back from Winnipeg, Manitoba where my co-presenters Alana Callan, Colin Harris, and I talked about teacher learning, reflective practice and instructor/faculty development in technology integration.
I’ve been quietly reflecting on the experience on my own. Today, I received a message stating how I’m today’s featured OISE student for Education Week [screen shot below]. The banner sums up one of my passion quite nicely: I’m all about helping “classroom teachers build and develop meaningful professional learning connections in and outside their school environments.”
Re-reading that line a few times has sparked this post.
While in Winnipeg, our session was attended by participants mostly in teacher/faculty development/support roles. There were 2 teachers joining us. One continuously nodded her head when we talked about the power of collegial relationships and work environments. The other teacher shook his head when many of us spoke of our shared experience of becoming so engrossed in our own career/teaching development that we learn on our own – even on our “off” time & using personal finances. Why? Improving and sharing our practices, expanding our knowledge about teaching and learning… it’s not only a career investment but intertwined personal/professional goals.
Random questions in my head… Who needs to participate in professional learning/development? How do we invest in our own professional practice? Does our learning need to be dictated or set to particular times/places? What does that learning look like?
We so often talk about promoting “lifelong learning” with our students. As teachers, does our learning only occur when it’s paid, prescribed, or when we receive more money, a step up the ladder, a certificate of participation? Why should we do it when it has little or no immediate, tangible “benefits” or “outcomes” – however you choose to define the words.
In supporting teachers/faculty in their own teaching practices, how do we support and encourage those who are a bit resistant to “change” and “improvement”?
The teachers I interviewed speak of some of their experiences with colleagues in and outside their school environments. By no means is there one solution. Here’s a glimpse into their experiences.
What are your thoughts?