I love teaching teachers. And I'd like to think I'm fairly good at it. As a teacher, however, I've never really enjoyed traditional professional development workshops. You know what I'm talking about: an expert in the field lectures at you for an hour, provides you with some websites and handouts, and then sends you on your merry way, uninspired and convinced you've wasted five hours of your life you'll never get back.
Personally, I don't like to make my workshops about me. (Which will certainly come as a surprise to anyone who knows me!) Yes, I like to provide useful websites and some kick-start ideas for incorporating them into your teaching. But, no, I don't particularly care to lecture at teachers. Time is a rare commodity for teachers, so instead of wasting their time, I much prefer making the best use of it. When I present, I keep it short and sweet and hand over the remainder of my allotted time to the teachers. The idea here is that they get to use the time to research what I've presented, to collaborate on some new ideas, to share insights, and to revise their own lessons using what has been offered in the presentation. Isn't that the true essence of a "work"-shop?
I was pleasantly surprised, then, to come across a blog post by Christopher Wooleyhand in which he introduces the concept of extending EdCamps to school-based PD. An EdCamp is an "un-conference" in that it flips the idea of traditional PD on its head and makes it more about the teachers and less about the presenter. EdCamps are participant-driven in terms of content and interest and are becoming increasingly popular, although I have yet to have the pleasure of attending one. EdCamps are teacher-centric events, with the teachers driving the content and collaborating; they're a celebration of teachers and what we know and what we bring to the table.
So with all this recent talk about flipping our classrooms, it only seems fair that we flip our approach to professional development, too. If you're interested in attending an EdCamp in your area, check out this list of upcoming events around the country. If you've attended an EdCamp, please share your experience in the comments section below, or email me. I'm looking for an EdCamp in the Cleveland area, because I still have a lot to learn!
Of course, I'm sure I could just take matters into my own hands. I'd like to see some happy campers for a change.
Learning Designer. Instructional Coach. Trainer. Working my hardest to create Teacher-Bordered Classrooms.