Today's meeting was different from any staff meeting I've attended at my current school (though I have been involved in similar meetings in other schools). We were given an article to read, and to pick out the things we agreed with, would argue with and anything we would aspire to. Here was my list:
- teachers should be learning virtually all the time
- collaboration among educators builds shared responsibility
- in professional learning communities leadership should invite staff input and action in decision making
- shared practice involves the review of a teacher's behaviour by colleagues and includes feedback and assistance to support individual and community improvements
- professional development that has the highest impact takes place in teachers' own schools. I disagree with that because I think the professional development that has had the most impact on me has been Project Zero. After almost 20 years of teaching, attending the PZ Summer Institute at Harvard was life-changing for me. I stopped doing about 80% of what I was doing before and began teaching in a completely different way. Other PD that has had an enormous impact on my teaching has been the Apple Education Leadership Summits I have attended and the Google Teacher Academy.
- coaching other teachers in IT
- being involved in more reflective dialogue
Having chosen one of each of these and written them on a piece of paper we did an activity called "snowballs". This activity allowed us to find out what others were thinking, without putting anyone on the spot and asking him or her to read out what had been written. The activity involved screwing up the paper into a ball and then throwing it around the room. We picked up someone else's "snowball" and read what the person had written. It was all anonymous so we had no idea whose list we were actually reading. After several rounds of this is was clear that there were many other teachers who had written the same things as me, which led to further discussions.
So all in all it was an interesting and invigorating staff meeting and I look forward to more like this in the future.
Photo Credit: Aspiration by Antiapathy (Jeff E.)