I think if I were trying to sell this to administrators who might be skeptical about setting PD time aside to "just play," I'd push the notion that this is also about building relationships between teachers and helping them to understand the power that those relationships have for driving learning.
Essentially, what you are creating is a space for people to be vulnerable with each other and to support one another through moments where they feel vulnerable. That has real value for a faculty in any circumstance. But what I also love is that teachers get first hand experience with the vulnerability that the learners in their classes feel almost every single day. So not only do they build a sense of empathy with their peers, they build a sense of empathy with their students.
Any of this make sense? Essentially, I think the way to get school leaders on board with "play dates" is to point out other less tangible outcomes that matter, too.
This has always been an idea rolling through my mind, too. In fact, I've always thought that it would be neat if organizations that already support schools like Business Alliances developed internships for teachers to fill during their breaks. Doing so would give teachers that real world experience that you are talking about. It could also get businesses a reliable part time employee for a short term contract/project.
The hitch has been convincing businesses that this idea is a good one. They don't often see the value in having a teacher as an intern because they know that teacher won't become a permanent employee. To make it work, we'd have to convince businesses that building knowledge in teachers and building relationships with schools has some kind of tangible value for them in the future.
I still like the idea, though. Personally, I'd rather increase teacher capacity than get donations of goods or products (or even cash) from the businesses in our own community -- and in many ways, I think the businesses would rather give their capacity than other more tangible contributions.
Looking forward to seeing where this goes, Bill Ferriter @plugusin
I mentioned this over on Short and Sweet too -- so if you've seen it already, I apologize for the repetition.
What I love about this idea is that it respects the fact that learning doesn't JUST happen in regularly scheduled sessions that are led by experts. Or that learning is dependent on having an expert in the room with you.
Oftentimes, the best learning that I do is after a session ends -- when my brain is energized by a quick introduction, I am more likely to think through the implications of an idea on my own and to do research that moves my thinking forward.
So from a PD standpoint, seat time should never be the goal. Instead, sharing provocative ideas and then turning teachers loose is just as valuable as keeping them in a room for hours and pounding thinking down their throats.
The key is trying to prove to "the powers that be" that learning happens even after a session ends.
Enjoyed thinking with you this morning, Bill Ferriter @plugusin