Category Archives: professional development

Spoon-Fed Learning

Speaking about the opportunities there are for learning in our world today through technology, I asked educators in the room to do a “Twitter Video Reflection” and share their learning back to the hashtag.  Since many of them were new to Twitter, they didn’t know how to do it, so I decided to not help them.

Not a type…I decided to not help them.

Here’s the thing…they all figured it out. Some took longer than others, and some figured it out after they saw that someone else could.  I actually think it went faster than if I would have shown them step-by-step.

Too often we talk about how we want to develop learners as students, but we still set up too much of our professional development where we will walk people through every element of any type of learning.

The balance of supporting and pressuring needs to be place; we can not spoon-feed learning to the adults in the room, or we model the exact opposite of what we say we want from our kids.

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Professional Development and Professional Learning #miamidevice

Simply processing through writing…

Sitting in Adam Bellow’s session this morning discussing “professional development”, I tweeted the following:

As he used the term “professional development” and the conversation centred around how to make it more meaningful, I thought about the term “professional learning” and these are thoughts that stuck out in my brain.

  1. Professional development is something done to me, while professional learning is something I do for myself (which was reiterated by several people on Twitter).
  2. Professional development seems to be more connected to an “event” (conference) or an objective, where as professional learning 
  3. The feelings the term professional development invoke something negative (for me) as opposed to the positive thoughts that professional learning invokes.

Now I am not sharing these as absolute truths, but thoughts.  The thing that is essential to understand is that we have shared goals in schools, and time to provide for development in those areas are crucial. But the other aspect that I have been thinking about is do we provide time for our own professional learning?  This is not only about what we are learning, but more importantly how we are learning it.

This is a great analogy from Seymour Papert:

If I wanted to become a better carpenter, I’d go find a good carpenter, and I’ll work with this carpenter on doing carpentry or making things. And that’s how I’ll get to be a better carpenter. So if I want to be a better learner, I’ll go find somebody who’s a good learner and with this person do some learning. But this is the opposite of what we do in our schools. We don’t allow the teacher to do any learning. We don’t allow the kids to have the experience of learning with the teacher because that’s incompatible with the concept of the curriculum where what is being taught is what’s already known.

If educators are going to develop in their profession, we must ensure that we see our own growth as continuous, as opposed to a singular event. It is not about the terms or terminology, as much as it is about the process, but as educators, if we only focus on the product, and not the individual process, we probably won’t create those opportunities for our students to learn beyond the “event” of school.