a prototype of a different type of orientation for teachers at the beginning of the school year.

Photo of Paul Kim
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I developed this idea a few years ago thinking that schools should think about disorienting teachers to get them to reorient their teaching practices and prevent them from falling back into the default cultures of traditional teaching.  What do teachers need to unlearn in their work?  How can we make the process fun and creative?

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Photo of Brett Brownell

Paul, you're on fire! Between Dis-Orientation and the Pop Up Kitchen, there are some really creative ideas happening. Thanks for sharing, we have so much to learn from you!

Photo of Ryan Smith

Hey Paul,
I love the idea. Come to Round Rock ISD and we will give you the opportunity to plan this kind of training. It's right up our alley.

Photo of Paul Kim

I like Austin! Once saw Willie Nelson at Austin City Limits for new years eve! Would love to help plan and facilitate something like this.

Photo of Michael Schurr

Hi Paul,

WOW! This is such an interesting post. I love the idea of breaking routines and transforming teaching practices. Could you say a bit more about the pdf?

Photo of Paul Kim

Hi Michael,

… yes, so I couldn’t find the more detailed version I created so here is more info:

Day 1
-- begin the day with a Gallery Walk of great student work from the previous year with coffee and pastries

-- open the day with an improv activity to open up participants with laughter and perhaps make them slightly uncomfortable, maybe a simple "yes, and..." vacation memory activity

-- present philosophical rationale for “disorientation”

-- in groups of 3, have teachers networking and share their best teaching stories

-- KEYNOTE ACTIVITY: flip the traditional keynote; create transference from a non-teaching activity – have a group of teachers (or all teachers in small groups) teach one another something other than their “specialty.” for example: how to change the oil in a car or can pickles or sew a button or juggle or whistle… debrief by discussing the process of teaching and learning and ask for feedback about insights garnered about teaching and learning.

-- break – walk - lunch

-- have teachers interview one another about bad teaching experiences or examples of bad teaching

-- have teachers produce 6 word memoirs of their teaching careers and share

-- have teachers ideate “million dollar education ideas” and share

Homework: what are the least engaging parts of your work as a teacher? create 6 word explanations of the least engaging parts of your work as a teacher. (intentionally uncomfortable but perhaps too much?)

Day 2
-- share 6 word explanation of the least engaging or most boring parts of your work as a teacher

-- in groups, hack the least engaging parts of a teacher’s work – collaborate using design thinking

-- present and share hacks

-- debrief by asking teachers what they will adopt as new practices

-- have teachers follow-up with e-mail exchanges to share or prompt progress with new teaching practices

Photo of Paula Marra

Hi Paul,

What an interesting idea so full of possibilities. You mentioned that you had this idea a while back. Did you ever tried it out? How would you go about it? I would love to hear more. Cheers, Paula

Photo of Paul Kim

Hi Paula,

Because I am not in a position to actually plan our professional development days, I have not had the chance to try anything like this. In the limited involvement I do have with professional development planning at this point, we have been a little more creative and playful and this year for the first time ever, we facilitated a professional development internally -- no expert consultant or speaker...

Photo of Paula Marra

AHA! I see. So let's explore this together. Which activities would you plan to disorient the teachers?