Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 98

Professional learning only happens when professionals are given the chance to explore what they want to learn.

There's a lot of differences in opinion on what true professional learning looks like, but there is one thing we can all agree on:

True professional learning, that which matters to those involved in it, must take into account the needs and wants of the professionals who will be learning from it.

Sounds like common sense, right?

Yet, as we all know, it isn't everyday that professional learning takes audience into account.

Leaders and learners must work together to structure their learning opportunities.  If professional learning is scheduled simply to fill a void or because it "seems" like it might be a good fit, then the school or district has wasted its money, and more importantly people's time.

One thing education has taught us about people is that learners are only invested in learning when it makes a difference.  The easiest way to make something meaningful is to let others have a say in it.

So, why doesn't this happen more often?

Realistically, because much of the vision in schools and districts is dictated from the top.  Th rationale for professional learning may make sense to central administration, but may be a total misfire to those within the school buildings.

How do we fix this?

Simply by making sure that professional learning scenarios are weighed in on by all stakeholders.  Or, if this isn't realistic, then a professional learning committee composed of members from each stakeholder group needs to help "build" offerings and sessions.

What's the simple takeaway here?  Only by factoring in the audience can schools hope to make professional learning really about "learning."

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