Sunday, September 7, 2014

Professional Development -v- Professional Learning

Before I start this post I first want to explain a little about R&D and about how important R&D is to ASB.  I have written before about how there are two "operating systems" at ASB:  T&L (teaching and learning) and R&D (research and development).  T&L is what executes and delivers our mission every day, whereas R&D focuses on rapid and sustained innovation for learning.  R&D studies, prototypes, researches and scales new teaching and learning approaches, practices and systems that advance learning in an accelerating change environment.

R&D is made up of task forces that come together once a month to share our learning.  For the whole of last year I was on the R&D PD 3.0 task force.  Our aim was to redesign PD for the future of schools, being very aware that we need to constantly reexamine and change what we do in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world.  Staying current or ahead of the curve is one of the things that ASB does best, and our task force was charged with coming up with a proposal to make ASB a professional learning center that would attract world-class faculty through increasing PD opportunities, re-examining roles and establishing teacher-choice in their own professional growth.

The task force began the year by reading about PD and collecting data on what was the current situation with PD at ASB.  We did surveys and interviews of our own teachers and leaders, as well as those working in schools around the world, about successful and effective PD practices.  During the year we also prototyped the PlayDate model.  On the basis of our findings, we constructed a vision for the future of PD.

One of the things that was central to our proposal was a change of wording: from professional development to professional learning. We also strongly believe that professional learning needs to be personalized.The Professional Learning 3.0 model is a flipped model in which the individual “owns” his or her learning. Learners will keep their own records of personal professional learning throughout the year in the form of blogs, journals, portfolios, videos or other forums where teachers can record and reflect upon their professional growth. We also feel it is important that each learner develops and maintains a flexible professional learning network. This may include colleagues at their school and others outside the school. These flexible PLNs would naturally change over time along with the learners professional learning needs and pursuits.

Read the report about PD 3.0 proposals
Read about other things we are doing in R&D in our Findings blog

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