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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Inspired Lead Learners--->Inspired Student Learners. Make Teacher (led) Professional Learning TOP PRIORITY IN SCHOOLS; EQUAL in importance to Student Learning.

Thanks to #sunchat folks for inspiring me this morning to blog! 

I believe this: You will NOT see truly engaged, on-fire student learners nor will you see a dynamic school learning culture if the LEAD learners in that building/district are not engaged and empowered themselves.

We are at an exciting time in education; a turning point.

  • Big conversations are occurring around the idea of student choice and autonomy in their OWN learning. Yes, it is THEIR learning and not ours. It is their learning, and not the test's, not the district's, not the state's learning.
  • Focus is on higher level and meaningful work for the kids. Focus in on creation through technology. Focus is on the big ideas and questions that don't have a right answer; skills needed in the workplace. Focus is on the KIDS actively learning--instead of teachers 'giving' them their learning. 
  • Kids THRIVE in this kind of atmosphere. They 'experience' the transformative and liberating power of true learning. It is joyous. It is not contained inside the walls of the school. It is connected. It changes them and engages them and sets them on FIRE. This is a plus for individual growth, school culture and climate, and for the community as a whole since school and community become intertwined and grow together.

This ISSUE negatively impacts entire schools and districts

  • Many schools/districts are still set up with teachers working in isolation--in the silo of their classrooms; getting tired and burned out trying to set up dynamic learning experiences for their kids and also meeting testing/other pressures. Teachers go to meetings in which PD is given to them. They are passive learners
  • Teachers are not actively networking, asking questions, and learning. They are not asked for input into their own learning and given choice. BOREDOM and BURNOUT are common, just like we see in kids within a similar setup.
  • Passive teacher learning that is often a side note during a school year filled with testing issues and much more is simply the old system still runningIt is not the fault of any school/district. That being said.....

Are we brave enough, at the school and district level, to make TEACHER-led learning as important as STUDENT-led learning?

In my core, I believe that if we truly care about doing everything possible for student learning/growth/development, we will stop ignoring the critical issue of teacher-led professional learning and make it a TOP priority in every school district and every building.
  • Inspired and autonomous lead learners model learning for kids. Inspired lead learners turn kids onto learning. Once kids GET it about learning, there's no going back...and that's a good thing. Often we hear that that one teacher made an impact on kids. Imagine if was an entire school of teachers and other learners making the impact on kids. Think about it for a minute.....
  • Teachers NEED and are starving for the same thing we are so diligently trying to give our kids in classrooms---vibrant learning in which the teacher-learner has the autonomy, mastery, and purpose that Daniel Pink discusses in his book, Drive.

I am pulling from my amazing experiences with #edcamps, including (but not limited to in the future) #edcampOMAHA, #edcampKC, and #edcampSTL. These teacher-led learning experiences have changed me. 

    #NKCSedu Summer 2012
  • My district is responsible for starting me on this path thanks to its Summer Academy that was kicked off in 2011. It is a voluntary week in the summer in which you can attend (or facilitate) any session/topic you're interested in. Sessions are led by district teachers and some consultants (like Apple, Cris Tovani/Sam Bennet) and you earn credit or pay. The first Summer Academy through North Kansas City indeed started me on the path to becoming a connected educator and a fierce believer in and attendee of #edcamps and what they stand for--empowered teachers learning from and with each other. My first #edcamp was #edcampOmaha in March 2012, by the way. :)
  • The connections I've made and resources I've come into contact with thanks to #edcamps, Summer Academy, and Twitter have forever changed me and my passion/energy as an educator. (They've impacted me on a personal level as well, not just educationally speaking.) As a result I am a better lead learner for my students and for my school and community as a whole. I know what I'm passionate about and I know the major issues out there. I have a voice and I want to use it to grow with others, all for the good of our kids and communities.  OH THE PLACES WE'LL GO...!

         #EdcampKC 2012 Slideshow on Flickr

Some #SUNCHAT tweets from this morning. (Talked w/an educator from Mumbai today!)

I believe the topic of T Learning shd be a TOP priority in all school districts. Inspired LEAD learners = inspired Stu learners. 
T lrning in schls is an afterthought. What if it was a top priority?! Inspired Lead Learners district wide?! BRING IT!
Yes!! Need frmwk for TCHR LEARNING. T lrning is JUST AS impt as Stu lrning--oft overlooked.