Saturday, October 29, 2011

Moving forward one conversation at a time: our professional book group

Last year our librarian and myself decided we wanted to start a professional book group.  We chose the book and put the word out, but the end of the year was crazy busy, so we decided we'd launch it in the new school year.  Our first book was The Element by Sir Ken Robinson and we had our first meeting last week (which gave people time during the recent holiday to read the book).

Right from the beginning we knew we wanted to open the group up to our other campuses and to teachers in other schools so that we would have a variety of perspectives and, we hoped, more interesting discussions - therefore we decided it wasn't going to be a school-based club.  Word spread to teachers in other schools just through personal conversations with people we knew there.  We knew we wanted to keep the group to a manageable number and also that we needed to find a place to host it, as once numbers grew it wouldn't be possible to do this at people's own homes.  We also knew that as the schools and where people live are fairly far apart, we needed a central location.  Therefore we decided to meet in the back room of a local wine bar so that this was also a social event.

I loved our first meeting, the discussions we had, the questions we asked each other.  What I also liked too was our diverse backgrounds.  Between us we had taught all grades from Pre-School to Grade 12 in both national and international schools as homeroom teachers and as specialists.  We'd taught in schools in 10 other countries as well as Switzerland - in North America, both Eastern and Western Europe, Asia and Australasia.  Our own education and the national systems we came from also influenced our discussions.   As international teachers we wondered how relevant some of what we read was to our students.  We asked - where is change most likely to occur?  In state schools, in private schools, in international schools following the IB curricula?  Where are we most likely to find the freedom to experiment?  How is this influenced by funding, by parents' or governments paying and therefore by perhaps having different expectations of what teachers' jobs involve?

Our next book is Curriculum 21 by Heidi Hayes Jacobs - we'll be discussing this after the Christmas holidays.  I'm excited to be part of this group, to see us moving forward, one book, one conversation at a time.

Is anyone else a member of a professional reading group?  What books would you recommend to us?

Photo Credit:  Poesia by Guilio Bernardi Attribution

No comments:

Post a Comment