Wednesday, October 5, 2016

From PD to the Classroom

       We have our interim reports due to our accrediting agencies, and one of the questions asks us to describe the school's approach to professional development, along with a summary of some specific examples. Just to see what people would say, I sent a query to all St. John's employees. While I'm always proud of the people here, their responses made me especially so. I was struck not only by the incredible amount of professional development they had done--whether as part of our in-house activities or own their own--but also by how much they had reflected on it and grown as educators through it. It epitomized a communal growth mindset.
       One other point made an impression on me: the incredible range of activities.People had read books, articles, blogs. Attended conferences and workshops. Collaborated with colleagues here and elsewhere. Studied YouTube videos. Joined groups on Pinterest. Attended an EdCamp. Set up professional portfolios. Visited other classes and schools. Joined Twitter to follow threads and participate in chats. Those are just the things popping into my mind right now, and I know there are others. Furthermore, great range existed within each of those activities.
       In many ways, we're talking about the ideal learning scenario. People were operating under some broad objectives tied to our vision for the school. But at the same time, they could pursue learning per their particular motivation and and personalities and preferences. Because of that, people embraced the professional development opportunities and actually, well, developed.
       And if it's good for adults, might it not be good for kids? Yes, the question is rhetorical. So now I'm wondering how might we make more of the student experience work that way?

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