Professional learning that is a real learning experience

Presentations that use pedagogies that work!

Photo of Janet Leadbeater
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Instead of being spoken AT from the front of the room, non-interactive, and death by PowerPoint presentations...

What if...

Presenters used and modelled the pedagogies that work in the classroom.

What if...

Time was allowed to connect to the learning and construct learning through dialogue.

Learners were invited to move around to different partners and groups to consider different viewpoints.

Opportunities were given to ask clarifying questions.

Presenters checked for understanding, for example using the red, yellow, green cup system.

Presenters checked the level and pace they were pitching at and altered it fluidly to match learners' needs, giving the right level of challenge, extending or slowing down as needed.

The power of silence was given to allow thinking time and reflection.

Opportunities were given to synthesise a product to consolidate the learning, or connect it to the real world of the classroom.

Movement was incorporated including standing up, stretching and brain breaks.

Strategies such as think-pair-share, human graph, gallery walks, etc. were used.

Presenters quickly connected with the learners and used respectful, invitational language.

Presenters spoke less and allowed teachers to be the learners.

Presenters showed how passionate they are about their learning and how they've been inspired.

And many more...

What if...

Professional learning was a real learning experience.

These presentations are few and far between in my area. Presenters are frequently content driven and do not prioritise the learning that teachers need to do to 'get' that content. Many teachers are time poor and don't have time to go away and think after the presentation, instead worrying about what to organise for dinner or how they are going to fit in that dentist appointment they need. Presentations can be boring and slow paced sometimes, or bombarding you with new information without time to take it all in.

Let's have dynamic, learning experiences as teachers. Let's really experience ourselves as learners. Let's soak up that new learning, play with it and innovate. Let's really, deeply understand it. Let's know when we leave where we will go with it when we get back to our classrooms.

Open to additions and feedback.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Chris Good

Love the picture you selected - I sense a Seth Godin "The Dip" Reference may be behind the scenes here.

Janet, I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments about how so many professional learning courses are not "Real Learning" experiences. They are death by powerpoint to check off a box to say "I sat through a 1hr time suck - now give me my certificate" 

PD is about so much more than presentations - so why is that the format used so often?

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you might do if you had to create a PD experience with no access to powerpoint. Maybe even no "presenter"at all.

What might that look like?

Photo of Janet Leadbeater

That's a good wondering, Chris Good that has got me thinking. I've only run three sessions of PD and the one where I was constrained with a 'presentation' style, tethered to my powerpoint (prezi) was the one where the participants sat politely, but only 20% or so were engaged. The other two sessions and ran using strategies I use in the classroom: short intro, learning goals, mixing up the partners, setting a hands on challenge, time for talk between participants, engaging activities that build on the challenge, movement, reflection. In these two sessions I was more a facilitator than a presenter and I had ,maybe, 70% and 99% engagement in these.

Photo of Janet Leadbeater

P.s. Chris Good I wasn't aware of Seth Godin's Dip. The photo is from my classroom last year and is based on the Learning Pit research from Butler and Edwards that has been made popular by James Nottingham. I introduced it based on data collected by student observers in our class and one student named it the 'dip'.

Photo of Chris Good

Oh! well consider it serendipity - and go find a copy of the book!
It is a fantastic short read (i mean really short - its probably less than 80 pages)

It's a great take on how to decide when & how to push through the really hard part of a challenge or new initiative so that we can overcome "the dip" and then grow exponentially. Most of us quit when we hit that hard part - or cycle back on ourselves creating a really nasty loop. Sometimes quitting can actually be the right thing - other times  If you can get through the hard spot- really good stuff happens. ;-)

Photo of Chris Good

99% engagement sounds like  a really big win! I think you are on to something!

Photo of Chris Good

and I'm adding the "Learning Pit" to my reading list! ;-