Three days of PD and so many things to follow on Twitter over the past week... Learning2 Europe, IB Conference in Singapore, Apple Education Event announcements.... I'm exhausted, but want to write this blog post while I am still on a high!
Over the course of the year our staff have been speaking up and asking for different types of PD. There was a general frustration about how we were spending precious time. This week we had 3 days of PD scheduled while students are away for Spring Break before we began our own. A week or two ago, our PYP coordinator put out a Google Doc asking if anyone would like to present, as well as the types of things people would like to learn more about. Being someone who just dives in, I of course signed up to speak about student agency. Yesterday was a day full of learning from one another - it was fantastic!
I struggled for a little while to wrap my head around how I was going to present my workshop. I had read @Makingoodhumans going through the same journey of leading a workshop about agency. I had the same belief of trying to get staff to really experience agency while learning about it. (Side note: I already plan to make Student-Led Conferences a similar experience for parents with their children, and was drawing off of that plan for inspiration as well).
As usual, once the idea hit I couldn't stop thinking about it. I structured the PD the same way I structured my class. Choose, then act, then reflect... with a little bit of time in the beginning to speak about agency in a broad sense and give the small amount of structure that the teachers needed to know what to do.
This is what the schedule for our session looked like:
The teachers had 4 very open-ended options to choose from for their "act" time. This is something I might have done near the beginning of this journey with my students. I had a document with a few link suggestions to start them off if they needed/wanted it.
Participants also had a list of musts, coulds, and shoulds, similar to what my students would have. I usually make these types of lists/agreements with my students, but again because of the "beginner" aspect of the teachers in the workshop (and lack of time) I provided them with the following checklist:
Another bit of a side note here: I had barely even started the workshop when our Tech Integrator (sitting in on the workshop) was already emailing me to pick my brain about the process because he wants to use the structure (agency) in his future PD sessions. Win number one!
They did their research for roughly 35 minutes and I made sure to have a bit of an accountability aspect in their "must" list. I also thank Taryn BondClegg again (@Makingoodhumans) for sharing her list of resources with me to share with the staff as an option for their research. We also started to curate our own list (voice and ownership)!
Teachers shared with their grade levels (I had to cut them off) and then I showed them how I interpret student agency and the journey I have been on with my class. I made it very clear that I wanted them to take things away as bits of inspiration (hopefully) to adapt and use as they might see fit for their own class. If I had different students, the routines we have really might not look the same way as it does right now. I wanted to be sure that they knew I wasn't expecting them to take away exactly what I was doing and replicate it. This is also why I got them to research examples of agency before I shared my own experiences.
Ideally, I would have loved to have my class there to explain our routines themselves. Being Spring Break, I settled for making and showing a video of my class routines and then I spoke a little more about workshops. This turned into a section of Q&A I really didn't expect or plan for, but could feel their need and want for it. We then did personal reflections about what they could start implementing for themselves, as well as identifying what ATLs they used during that session and that was that!
Except I hope it isn't! I have had incredible feedback from them as well as "second hand compliments" from teachers who weren't even in the workshop. I have received emails of thanks, and "complaints" that people can't stop thinking. Yes!! Mission accomplished, I think! People are thinking... hopefully adapting... hopefully diving in...
Former PYP Coordinator and Head of Computing Curriculum, Apple Teacher, Google Educator L2, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Book Creator and Seesaw Ambassador. Passionate Canadian PYP Teacher in Vietnam