Change is important and helps us grow as educators. Change can help push teachers into the outlying areas of teaching where innovation happens. This will be my first semester in 12 years out of the classroom and not attached to an actual school. I will be operating for the first time as a contractor with a focus on providing innovating and engaging professional development to teachers.
I also happen to be taking a course on project-based learning which is pushing me to rethink how to engage teachers in my workshops. In 12 years of teaching, I have sat in many professional development meeting. Sadly, many of those were spent sitting at tables, listening to lectures, and engaging in many of the same types of collaborative activities. It gets really old, really fast.
I am hoping to take some risks to change things up for my participants. While researching projects, I came across many projects at schools such as High Tech High. These schools are rethinking the way students engage with school. In all of the schools I researched this week, students were at the center of the learning experiences and were engaged in an authentic task that promoted collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills.
Why can't teachers have more professional development experiences that are modeled after PBL learning models. Teachers are always encouraged to be life-long learners, but during a school year many of their learning and professional development experiences are in stale meetings that are completely disengaging. By diving deeper into this new and uncomfortable professional area, I hope I can start to dive deeper into these thoughts and see if PBL based professional development is one way to create more dynamic and engaging learning experiences for teachers.