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? 

Photo of Margaret Powers
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Wow, those sound like amazing experiences Kirsten! I wonder if you can use those experiences to help share insights about the practical side of implementing this idea. How did you find those program? What was the process to sign-up, get approval, go on them? How could you scale that to include more teachers? Your post also reminds me of the Teacher Adventurer idea proposed here: https://teachersguild.org/challenge/how-might-we-reimagine-professional-learning-so-that-we-continue-to-grow-feel-inspired-and-have-impact-in-the-lives-of-our-students/ideas/and-time Would you want to team up to work on it? I love the idea of incorporating global experiences into teachers' adventures!

Photo of Kirsten Franklin
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I have always been interested in the idea of living and teaching abroad, so I am constantly on the look-out for resources and opportunities.  That's where the internet has been huge.  I now have a team of teachers from one site in my district who are on board to attend the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rain Forest that I attended last summer.  I am so excited about what I know they will experience and be able to bring back to their site.  We are now working on applying for grants like Fund For Teachers to fund it. I would love to team up on developing the idea of a district being able to support teachers to partake in these kinds of PD.

Photo of Kirsten Franklin
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Thanks, Sarah.  I would love to know more about what kind of PD grant was used/created.  What a great system of support and motivator for teachers!