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Valuable professional learning discussions

One might not find it unusual to find a group of teachers chatting about learning.  Recently I was in a virtual room of nearly 60 amazing teachers discussing their own professional learning.  The fact that so many teachers spent an hour sharing their perspective on professional development for educators was not unusual.  What was unusual was the insight and inspiration gained from participating in these discussions.  I find taking part in Twitter chats a fast-paced and deeply thoughtful activity. But the part I like best is the reflection after the chat.  (My colleague, Shannon C’ de Baca, has prepared a Storify of the May Twitter chat, which I highly recommend!)  Allow me to share a few of my thoughts on May’s chat on professional learning.

PLNs and Creating Community

I must redouble my efforts to support teachers in building their own professional learning community while supporting the creation of a culture of community in my school.  How will I do this?  Because so many of my #teaching2030 colleagues inspired this thinking, I will turn to them as I plan.  For example, when asked who is responsible for a teacher’s professional learning, Diana Laufenberg, Jerry Blumengarten, and Mike Gwaltney respond:

@dlaufenberg: The answer is the same as the student… learning happens in a community that values learning. All members are responsible. #teaching2030 and @dlaufenberg: The interesting thing is that we often think of tcher learning as somehow more difficult to ‘pull off’ than stdnt learning #teaching2030

@cybraryman1: I have seen great learning & sharing on Twitter which is PD 24/7 from outstanding & passionate global educators #teaching2030

@MikeGwaltney: As we all here know, PLNs are essential to effective professional learning, and we need to teach our peers how to make them. #teaching2030

I agree with Diana, Jerry and Mike wholeheartedly.  Their collective knowledge and experience on PLNs and creating community is the resource I need to support my redoubling efforts.

Rethinking Traditional PD

Another interesting question posed to those taking part in the chat was “What is the best professional development you’ve experienced and why?”  The responses didn’t look much like the traditional professional development offered by school districts today.  Here’s a sample.

@engaginged: My absolute best PD comes through my Google RSS reader. Amazing bloggers teach me so much. Twitter = close second. #teaching2030 and @engaginged: My own blogging has been great PD, too. There’s something powerful in sharing & reflecting. #teaching2030

@wendi322: My best PD comes when it’s something I seek out myself, something I deem crucial/important at the time #teaching2030

@teachingwthsoul: Best PD was #edcamp and Reform Symposium! Educator led and driven! #teaching2030 and @cybraryman1: Best professional learning nowadays are from #edcamps & #TeachMeets where you have choice & can give sessions too #teaching2030

@lhill40: What do you think about action research as PD? #teaching2030

Imagine what professional learning initiatives might emerge if these ideas were turned into PD action plans.  It really is time for the teacher voice to penetrate the professional learning agenda for teachers.  According to this Twitter crowd, the teacher is responsible for their own development.  Does that mean pushing for more innovation and diverse pathways for formal teacher PD?  Every month I leave the #teaching2030 chat with inspiration to find answers to such questions.  Advancing teaching as the results-oriented, 21st century profession as it should be is what these chats are all about!

The entire transcript from May’s Twitter chat can be accessed here.

The third Thursday of each month teachers gather on Twitter to chat using the hashtag #teaching2030.  Join us for our next chat on June 21 at 8:30 ET.

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