As I’ve mentioned, one of the responsibilities of my agency is to provide professional learning opportunities for the region. Based on need, we find those with expertise to help educators further their learning and change their practice.
Yesterday, we were lucky enough to have four workshops running in four different areas: coaching development, new social studies requirements, thinking through an inquiry lens, and building a Maker frame of mind.
It was fascinating to spend time in each session, and I was reflecting this morning on the challenge, sometimes, of flipping our mind to a new subject or way of doing things, but I’ll leave that for another post.
When I went into the MakerSpace session, participants were busy sharing their “cardboard games” fashioned after Caine’s Arcade (if you’ve never watched the video, it is truly inspirational; click here to give it a view).
As I watched, I was overjoyed with the engagement and enthusiasm these educators showed. Regardless of role (whether supervisor, library media specialist, or classroom teacher) all were enthralled not only by their own work, but by the workings of the other groups.
At the end of the day, I was going through workshop evaluations, and one of the participants wrote, and I paraphrase a bit here, “It was great to actually do, rather than just be.”
This made me think of two ideas that I believe are incredibly important. First, it furthered my belief that our professional learning design needs to move much more towards the interactive end of things. We’ve made progress in our agency, but there is still work to be done. And certainly, across the country at least, this is also true.
I also smiled when I thought of how reflective that comment was for the teacher, and how it must have made that teacher consider what students are doing (vs. simply being) in the classroom. Any time we experience something that provides a shift in our thinking, it gives us an opportunity to look inward and say, “Am I doing this with those I serve?” Truly, we want our learning sessions to not only be valuable for participants, but lead to changes in practice that ultimately better the learning for our youngest students.
Creating and designing are two practices that we never grow out of. No matter how old, no matter how jaded, no matter how inexperienced, when we have the chance, and the time, to create, it is impossible to not smile.