(Disclaimer: there could be typos and I could be wrong 🙂 )
The other day the topic of PD came up on twitter….
So what’s my background?
I’ve been teaching for about 7 years now, and still at my first school, so my professional experience of PD is relatively limited. Usually the PD I undertake was organised by the school, with little or no input from me. Our PD, I believe, links into our schools strategic plan. A couple of years ago a local group set up a wonderful PD system, where the school would pay a price for each teacher, which entitled us to 2 or 3 sessions of about 1 ½ hrs after school. All the PD’s in this system were scheduled and we would nominate the PD’s we wanted to attend. We also had the option to apply to any other session, without cost, and if there were spaces we could attend them.
What I really liked about this was that I could choose if I wanted to do more PD, and I could choose the day and topics I wanted. I think this system ran for about a year and then slipped away.
Since then we’ve gone back to whole school staff PD. The school leadership also forward emails onto, all of the staff, these sessions are a mix of free and paid PD, online & offsite during school hours or after school. Some sessions are attended by multiple staff members and others not.
It’s an odd system, without clarity as far as to who’s doing what or why, there also doesn’t seem to be clarity as to what budget teachers or areas are allocated. We put our expression of interest (for the paid PD) into our PD coordinator and await approval.
We have recently included PD on the agenda for our weekly staff meetings. It’s an opportunity for anyone to feedback on any PD that they have undertaken.
While this ‘system’ is fairly ad hoc it allows for the teachers to choose and tailor their PD.
And then…. someone told me about twitter…..
……and because I’m not an early responder I didn’t do anything……not till a bit later 🙂
Twitter (as a information collection agency)
Twitter and internet have opened up the information that is available to me. Twitter in particular, because through the people I follow I can fossick through their posts and find nuggets of goodness, things that I can use. It’s like google search but better. Google is great but it lacks the human touch.
I know I can look at someone’s posts and I know they have posted things that appeal to them, that tie in with their nature, it’s another search dimension, not just words or terms. Each person I follow is another individual entity, with their own unique style and interest and like a magnet they gather and source information I can use. Hopefully I’m doing the same for someone and not confounding them too much 🙂
Hacking, Piaget and Frankl
So where to from here. I think the following concepts are critical.
Hacking is the breaking down or a part of something and finding a way to make it more of what you want. Hacking is flexible and opportunistic, it never loses sight of your goals. It is a mindset not a system.
I think Logan LePlante says it best during his TED talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY
Piaget was a theorist whose work resonates with me the concepts of assimilation and accommodation. The idea that we construct our understanding of the world, take in new information and assimilate it into our understanding or modify our ideas/theories so we can accommodate this new information.
Viktor Frankl wrote a book that I didn’t read until a few years back, a book called, “Mans search for meaning” (it’s the hyper linked). This book is connects to Piaget’s theory, in the way we accommodate and assimilate information, we also ascribe meaning, we all do it in our own way ,which is why we can view things in infinite uniqueness. Sometimes it’s black and white, other times the differences are minute hues.
My View (one possibility that might be ok)
I believe that schools have an obligation to their strategic plan, I believe that the school has an obligation to ensure their staff have the knowledge and skills to successfully fulfil their strategic plan.
I also believe that we are not victims, that we can take action and develop into the teachers we want to be.
We ask our students to take responsibility for their learning, to set goals and reflect on them. I believe that we need to do the same for ourselves.
I believe that I need to hack my own PD.
I need to articulate to myself what it is I want to achieve. What sort of a teacher do I want to be? What do I need to know? The information is out there, through videos, through blogs, through conversations and shared resources, there is no reason why I can’t gather the things I need to become the teacher I want to be.
Who do I want to be?
What do I need to do to achieve that?
And off I go 🙂
Ps: check out the hashtags #ISTE2015 #modelschools and any other conferences going on, brilliant information!
& this might help….https://t.co/Vk4s6690De ……hmm probably not J
(Another time I want to talk about how PD is not about just about content, it’s much more.)