Saturday, November 6, 2010

Professional Learning by Ryan Bretag

Ryan Bretag writes a great post in Metanoia entitled "Raise Your Hand". He talks about the imperative to learn and to share as extolled by the likes of Dean Shareski and Will Richardson. The traditional way for teachers to learn were PD days, convention and summer university courses. The opportunities for us to learn now are infinite. The same opportunities exist for our students and parents. The world is changing so fast it is imperative for teachers to adapt quickly to keep up.

When I talk to teachers about the many learning opportunities on-line, they almost always say that they don't have the time. Many say that schools will evolve into 21st century schools given small steps and time. David Warlick recently tweeted, "Small steps!" Do we (our children) really have that much time?"

Bretag writes:

"How would we react to students if they told us they didn’t have time to learn? they didn’t have time to improve upon their skill set? they didn’t need to know that? they didn’t need to try anything new, challenge their current ideas, or push beyond the norm? Would terms like prioritize, organize, time management, etc. be part of our discussion? Many students have so many demands outside of the school day that if we as educators are demanding their learning be 24/7, shouldn’t we be practicing what we preach?"

I love the learning collaborative, social networking sites allow. I can hardly stand it when I am unable to learn in that way for too long. I too get a bit frustrated with staff who appear to not care about changing the way the classroom works. I find it hard to understand why people are reluctant to see the opportunities to learn in amazing ways in an incredible world.

Bretag makes recommendations fo teachers:

1. Dedicate a portion of your day to honing your professional practice both locally and digitally

2. Establish a professional learning network

3. Establish and maintain a virtual professional learning space that fosters shared knowledge and resources

4. Make professional reflection, scholarly work, and learning a priority and make it public.

5. Model professional learning for colleagues, students, and parents

6. Take a risk, rethink your norm, challenge your assumptions, and embrace the idea of being disturbed.

I think it is great advice. The challenge of building PLC's and becoming twenty first century learners and teachers is too important to wait another moment!

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