A new PD! Professional Driven!

Saw this on twitter earlier.

The chart I saw on twitter.

This chart grabbed my attention.  It felt a lot like what I think is the difference between ‘Professional Development’ and ‘Professional Learning’.  Wrote about that notion before

Well I looked for the source of this great chart.  Found out about Jarod Bormann.  He wrote a book called, Professionally Driven: Empower Every Educator To Redefine PD.  

Jarod’s awesome book!

I’ve had strong reactions to books before.  This was different.  I swear I just got this book today.  Yet…many, if not most, of the ideas had been banging around in my mind, in my words, ideas, and statements since I took my new gig 4 years ago.   Executive Director of Teaching-Learning-Innovation.  Jarod’s story of mind numbing PD sessions is my story.  And like Jarod, I’m a role to do something about it.  His book, which I highly recommend, makes the case unequivocally.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas from his book:

  • Educational leaders have to walk the talk. Don’t talk to me about innovation, risk-taking, collaboration, connectedness, and creativity if the professional development you provide models none of this.
  • This BIG question created such an intense energy within me: What about them?
  • We need to quit viewing the teacher as the fire that is last to receive the water and the expert as the original source of knowledge that we must pay to dip our buckets into. As William Butler Yeats has been famously quoted, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” We have extinguished so many learning fires within teachers for so long that there isn’t a single hot coal left to stoke a spark. Moreover, the idea that “teachers don’t know what they don’t know” implies that teachers cannot be trusted to discover for themselves what it is they don’t know, or worse yet, that teachers are not even capable of it. This type of thinking is simply incorrect and toxic for a school’s culture.
  • I’m not sure when, but at some point professional development became primarily training, and districts began to expect educators to do learning on their own time. And if they chose not to (probably because they are trying to deal with all of the responsibilities that come along with teaching, as well as the training that has been bestowed upon them), they are quickly labeled as a “lazy” educator. I said this in the previous chapter, but I feel it’s worth mentioning again here: forcing teachers to learn on their own time should not be some kind of test to determine the “motivated” teachers from the “lazy” ones. This is no different than using the idea of homework in the same fashion and then giving kids the same labels.

Just a few of the ideas that hit me between the eyes.  I’m pretty proud and convinced that we are on our way to doing a better job with professional learning.  We have proof.  Our teachers identify needs, wishes, and books to read, study, and act upon.  We buy the books and facilitate.  One example, the great book Conscious Discipline, by Dr. Becky Bailey, was selected by the teachers at our primary school.  We bought the books and ran the book study.  Then the teachers, the following year, continued on their own. Then the following year, they continued the learning and reading on their own.  Then teachers at one of our other elementary schools wanted to do some reading, thinking, and learning from the book. So we did it again.  Then another elementary school.

Are we perfect?  Nope.  Do we still have sit and get, professional development kind of activities.  Yeah….. but fewer of them.  There are still ‘trainings’ that happen.  But we are 100% dedicated to teacher originated, ongoing, professional learning.

As I said, reading this book was like watching a movie of my recent thinking.  If one checks out my twitter feed…the pinned tweet, for the last couple of years is the WB Yeats quote Jarod referenced!

Thanks to my new PLN colleague and WB Yeats!

Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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