Students in PD

Professional development is always admin or teacher led, we serve students, have them present on how they want to learn.

Photo of Trever Reeh
22 18

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Overview: (What’s this idea about)

Professional learning has been led and driven by adults in a field where our consumers are students.  Giving our students a voice in professional development helps students be more engaged and motivated in the classroom.  

Potential Impact: (Why is this an idea that promotes continued growth?)

Students get unmotivated from material that isn't relevant to them in todays education.  Students who are interested in coding, publishing their own novel, and playing video games should be allowed to learn things that will help them grow, they should be learning these skills in a classroom.  Having professional development that is led by students and student focused, promotes students growth directly.  Struggling students should be focused on, what engages them?  Ask them!  Get them involved on what they want to learn.

Value/Prop Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal? Etc)

Students need a voice in teachers and their education.  Having students lead professional development on what they are interested, and learning new skills will be difficult.  Having higher engagement in our curricular areas is the main goal, having uninterested students interested is the main goal, and getting our students career and college ready is the main goal of education.  In education we need more student voice and choice and giving them a voice in professional development gives students a big advancement in their future.

How Do I Get This Idea Off The Ground:

  1.  Get students in smaller curricular meetings, where they can have a voice.
  2.  Talk to your student council, who are your students you can lean on to contribute, ask them to sit on professional development meetings.
  3.  Ask your principal and administration if you can include students in other professional development.
  4. Get all students the chance to have their voice heard in professional development meetings.

How You Can Get Started:

  • Collect information regarding needs & interest of students.
  • Have a "Speed Dating" event in your classroom or as professional development where students and staff can quickly get to know one another by asking simple questions. (i.e. "What do you like to do?" "What is your favorite TV show?", etc.)
  • Talk to your department about having a few student council members sit in on professional development meetings.
  • Find the top things students are interested in, start implementing a few of these things in your curriculum.
  • Have students learn along side educators in professional development meetings such as learning new tools or strategies can help students be leaders in the classroom by already knowing how to use tools and have seen these strategies before.

Original Post:

Professional development has been top-down instruction, forever.  What if we gave the power of professional development to our students.  Have students teaching teachers in what they are passionate about so they can include it in the curriculum.  If we had professional development on using games in the classroom, coding, drones, or something that the students are interested in a session to improve their instruction as teachers.

We have been plagued with education not being real-world or personalized enough or engaging.  If we gave students the opportunity to share with teachers and administrators what they want to do, it opens avenues for after school programs and serious learning in the classroom.

Last week we have been playing around with a 50$ drone learning to program on the iPad and how to make it fly.  Students have been so engaged in the lessons it has opened different avenues of what they thought they liked.  We spent a couple of days working on the project and it came to my attention that most of the students didn't think coding was a job that was available to them.

Having professional development tailored by students for teachers can get teachers more involved in students lives and provide real-world applications of education that they are passionate about.

22 comments

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Photo of Dessie Olson
Team

Trever, I'm so glad I ran across your idea because it reminds me how important student voice is to our professional growth.  As teachers, reflection is a critical part of our growth, but I wonder how often we get authentic student feedback about our practice.  Last year when I was facilitating a professional development for social studies teachers, we unintentionally got to hear from a student about the strategies we were exploring, and it was powerful.   I held the PD event in a library after school at one of our high schools.  Once I began the PD, a student wandered over and sarcastically asked what we were doing, then sat down and said he wanted to participate after I told him we were going to be learning about reading strategies.  I told him it would be great if he joined us, thinking he would leave in a few minutes after he got bored.  He ended up staying for one and half hours of the two hour workshop, and actually raised his hand to apologize for having to leave so he could catch the city bus home.   It was such a gift to have him at our PD because he lent his perspective to what we were learning in our PD, which I've never thought to intentionally include before (outside of a quote or two from students included in a PowerPoint). His insight provided us useful feedback as we were exploring ways to help students access complex text and develop social studies literacy habits of mind.  What was incredible is that it felt like we broke a barrier with this student as we continued to ask him about his thoughts on the strategies we were learning and as he participated as an equal in our PD - we were all learners.  We all sincerely were interested in his perspective and what works with students.  This experience made me realize how valuable student voice is to our professional growth.   Your post reminded me to be more intentional in including students in our professional development, so we can all benefit.  I think you're right when you suggest it will help students become leaders in the classroom, and I think it will also facilitate students to be more metacognitive about their learning and how to problem solve.  Thanks for a great post!

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

This is amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

Photo of Mahmoud ABDELRAHMAN
Team

@Trever Reeh Great idead! Do you think we can have the students build the personal branding details for their dream teacher? we can use something like "Tomorrow's headlines". If your teacher has done something extraordinary for which he has been interviewed, what would that be? by which newspaper and passing what obstacles. Teachers can then check which vision excites them the most, pick and further develop that. It then helps them build their plan for future brand, goals, tactics .. etc.

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

That would be a great introduction activity to get students thinking about what they find valuable in a teacher.

We had a student panel of 4-5 students across grade levels and were asked questions like that.  We also included some of the goals we were working on during the year (i.e. learning goals.) 

We also had questions about who is your favorite teacher and why?
What are qualities of a teacher that you like?
If you could teach anything what would you want to teach?
What is one thing you wish your teachers knew?

Photo of Chris Good
Team

Love so much of this. There have been many explorations here to discover ways to find PD that is meaningful to Teachers - but isn't the most meaningful moment - that moment of teaching something meaningful to a student?

Imagine how powerful it would be to investigate and learn something new for no other reason than because someone asked us to teach it to them.

What if that learning process happened in the open - where student and teacher learn together. 

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

Discussions in class only leads so far, having time to teach them things that aren't in the curriculum are just as important.  

Last year we started playing chess after school, because it was something that the students were interested in.  I played along with the students and all of us got better.  

Teachers need to be relevant and provide support for student learning in the classroom and out of the classroom.

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Agree with all of this. I am a life long learner. I model that by bringing things in that I am not an expert with-like Arduinos. I bought one and am figuring out the coding part with a group of students. We find other kids who know, local mentors and watch a lot of videos!

Photo of Jenny Burns
Team

Trever Reeh "Discussions in class only leads so far" - I completely agree. The chess club sounds like a great idea for informal student feedback.

Photo of Valerie Swangren
Team

This is something that I think is critical, too.  We don't teach in a vacuum!  If our goal is to give the students some valuable insight into what they are learning, we should be following up on that by seeing what they liked/didn't like and learned/didn't learn during the instruction.   At a company where I was a supervisor, they initiated a review process for supervisors asking how the employees felt about how the supervisors were doing.  It meant a lot more to me to get feedback from the employees because they worked directly with me and saw me every day.  MY supervisor didn't really know what I did on a daily basis with the employees, so often feedback felt contrived because they only saw me working once in a while.  

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

I agree, I think people give surveys to ask what they can improve on, but having students actively involved in PD helps promote individualized learning.

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Agreed. Surveys are fine, but having students involved is even better. That way you're getting real time feedback and might learn something that you hadn't even thought about at all!

Photo of Janet Leadbeater
Team

We are trying this in 2016 at our school. We hope to have some of my students run a session on growth mindset to spread the learning throughout the school. We hope that the students will inspire the teachers to take it on board. It's good to see your idea shared here, as it's an important innovation in PD!

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

I think I am going to try this at our next pd session, I am not sure how it will go over with some of our "matured" teachers.

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Thank you! Teachers love students. That's why we're in this profession, so having students be part of the PD or working to redesign curriculum is great because teachers want to hear from them. It is having the user feedback right there at your fingertips!

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Again, remember that teachers love students and we all want them to learn. If you put that at the center of the PD, it is less threatening to mature/career educators. You're not telling them what to do or how to do things, but asking them to rethink their own work with the students at the center. 

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

We should collaborate. See my idea: 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/immersion-inspiration-and-real-outcomes
I HAVE had students be part of PD sessions where we used DT to redesign school, classes, lessons. And right now I am prototyping curriculum with a group of students who are trying projects and giving us feedback about what they like and what is missing. Additionally, if we incorporate students into PD, we empower them and give them a voice in their own learning experience. And isn't that what it's all about?
 

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

I believe that students want two things in a classroom, choice and voice.

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

Agreed. But sometimes they are so used to having that all taken from them that they are apathetic... HMW reinvigorate them?

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

We need to break them some way, giving them opportunities to be creative and show themselves, reward that more in the beginning of the year.

Photo of Lisa Yokana
Team

I agree. We need to be disruptive with them otherwise they just expect the same old, same old. They expect to be fed information. It's hard to be disruptive but SO necessary and we need to support and honor those who are doing it. bringing like minded people together to support one another is very important!

Photo of Kevin Jarrett
Team

Fantastic. My kids teach me things DAILY. What better way to model being a lifelong learner than...actually being one? In front of them? And while coding the drone to make it fly is a great experience (I presume you're using Tickle, right?) - having a discussion about how "regular" lessons flow, how assessments work, how to get kids more involved, etc., would surely pay SIGNIFICANT dividends. But that's just me!

Great idea, thanks for sharing it!

Photo of Trever Reeh
Team

Yes using Tickle, trying to find other coding apps that I can use in the classroom as well.