Our school and others in our supervisory union are participating in an exciting professional development opportunity (you can read about it here). Everything about this opportunity is exciting, but something that’s relatively new to the folks at our school is the format.
During this learning opportunity the trainer meets with a larger group of educators and they plan a lesson together, going through the process leading up to the instruction. Then the group (approximately 12-15 educators plus the trainer plus assorted curious principals) move into a “lab classroom.” Now, seeing a room full of scholars, 15 educators and assorted adults is quite a sight…and to many folks this would not be an ideal environment for anyone to learn in; however, I’m here to tell you it is exceptional!
At the beginning of her time in the classroom the leader told the students that sometimes she’d be talking to them and other times she’d be talking to the teachers. She delineated that by saying that when she was talking to students she’d say “writers” and when she was talking to teachers she’d say “teachers.” It was wonderful to watch her weave in and out of the teacher and professional developer role. I believe that teachers were amazed at how well this system worked as well as scholars continued their work, were attentive and didn’t seem to mind a crowd of educators hanging on their every word!
Those of us observing these sessions made mental note that this model works amazingly well. In particular, educators being able to watch a lesson role out rather than just reading about it served as a powerful component. We definitely shouldn’t be afraid to enter this style of professional development in the future!