Adventuresome Professional Development

What if districts actively encouraged and supported teachers to go on adventures?

Photo of Kirsten Franklin
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I've managed to combine professional development and travel a few times. For example, I went on a Fulbright Exchange to Scotland where I taught in a Scottish primary school and learned first hand about their educational system.  I also went to the Amazon and learned about biodiversity from research professors and best practices in science instruction from curriculum specialists there.  Both trips provided huge amounts of personal and professional growth and I came back to teaching refreshed and inspired.  I went on these adventures on my own initiative, but what could happen if a district actively encouraged teams of teachers to go on PD adventures together?  I can imagine all kinds of positive possibilities and benefits for teachers and the school communities where they teach!

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Photo of Sarah Lundy
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Kirsten, I love the immersive nature of the learning experiences you've described here. We can likely all imagine how many benefits your students have reaped from the learning you engaged with in another country's school system and the biodiversity capital of the globe!

At my previous high school, a generous PD grant supported by private donations has made it possible for 3-4 teachers to apply for travel grants that were explicitly linked to their curriculum and instruction. Returning teachers then enthusiastically shared their learning with colleagues and students alike as a required "give back" from the experience.

More than half of my teaching colleagues were able to bring essential learning from the outside in over the past decade while rekindling their love for their content area.  As a teaching community, we all grew from the world travel with a purpose this grant made possible.

Photo of Margaret Powers
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Sarah Lundy Yes, my school has something similar! Kirsten Franklin Should we start a Google doc to create some concrete plans around turning this idea into something all schools could try? 

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