As I strive to model transformative practices within professional learning, I find this quite a challenge. Not an impossible challenge, but a challenge nonetheless. I appreciate the challenge, as a Lead Learner (I have borrowed this term and lately appreciate it for many reasons) in my district and an active participant in my own PLN, I value the importance of continuous improvement. Leaning upon Alan November’s Transformational 6, a set of questions written to guide reflection through the lens of innovation and transformation of technology integration. I have taken the liberty to adapt the original Transformational 6 for the purpose of professional learning. I shared these at a recent Texas State Board of Education Learning Roundtable and have used them in my own work again recently.
Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to provide professional learning for a team of my middle school mathematics educators. A few weeks prior, the planning began with a 4 item survey:
- What do you want to learn? (This is your opportunity to influence the agenda for the Middle School Math Academy.)
- How do you want to learn? (We will have a total of one and a half days together, what do you want it to look like? Think about the physical/virtual environment of the professional learning and what works for you.)
- Professional learning would be so much better if… (Have you had an outstanding experience? Consider the most beneficial professional learning in your career. What made it so great?)
- What are you proud of? (What is happening in your classroom or on your campus you wish others knew about?)
The responses were very beneficial in the design of the professional learning. The plan for the day was for the educators to explore content and examples of quality open source resources. The structure of the day supported our work with Understanding by Design (Stage 1: clarify standards, Stage 2: determine how the leaners will demonstrate understanding, and Stage 3: design learning experiences), and also aligned to our work with Professional Learning Communities in terms of collective inquiry and action research. The educators were charged with committing to implement experiences in their classrooms and to bring student work samples back to our December meeting.