Sunday, October 26, 2008

Professional Learning 2008

This year, each Avon Maitland Secondary School has two teacher learning teams dedicated to developing an open and collaborative practice and to improving student learning. The first team will focus on student writing and consists of teachers from various curriculum areas (WAC - Writing Across the Curriculum). The second team will dedicate their studies to issues that affect student achievement in the transition years. In many schools, these teams consist of grade 8, 9 and 10 teachers (TIG – Transition Inquiry Group). Team members are not required to present their new learning to the whole staff, but may do so if they wish.

Learning Team members will drive their practice deeper and take steps towards building a sharing, collaborative culture by

  • identifying challenges they face when teaching;

  • sharing these challenges within a PLC;

  • using conversation structures (protocols) to focus inquiry and

  • looking for and trying strategies to improve student learning.

Student work, assessments, lesson plans or classroom observations are always on the table and at the heart of the conversations. Like the protocols, these records of practice help to focus dialogue and discussion.

Informed by Teachers
Teachers want more time to work in their buildings, on their own practice, with their own staff. Our 2008 Professional Learning model moves away from the centralized professional development of teachers to a model that provides structure and support to teacher learning and collaboration within schools.

Informed by Research
This model of professional learning stems from the research of
Lynne Hannay, Bob Garmston, Richard DuFour and Rebecca Dufour, Michael Fullan and Richard Elmore.

Across the DSB
As I spend time with the Inquiry Teams, I will share their process, work and photos (with permission, of course) and hopefully, teams will begin to share their strategies and successes.

Next - read about the first round of Inquiry Team meetings.

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