The Best PD — And Free!

23 Sep

Part of the MbD philosophy that I’m developing  is one of my favorite examples of PD ever — taking advantage of your colleagues.

I don’t mean anything bad; I mean we should be taking full advantage of some of the best models of teaching and learning going on right next door to us.

My dad says that if I really want to learn about how to manage a high school classroom, I should observe an elementary school one. He says they are masters at managing multiple activities going on at one time, conferencing with students during class, and maintaining clarity and order.

One like-minded elementary teacher in my new school reached out to me, a veteran Grade 3 teacher, and I’ll be observing her in the coming weeks to see how she does things and what I might learn and be able to transfer (!) to my high-school teaching.

But no need to find someone from another division if that’s not feasible. Ask a handful of colleagues both in and out of your discipline if you can observe them teaching. Then invite them to do the same to you and give you feedback (more on feedback another time). This is one of the best uses of PD I’ve ever had — it’s free, no scary supervisors are involved, and it’s a relaxed, informal way to learn and get feedback.

I learned a lot sitting in on Chad’s classes two years ago (see previous post on Chad and Grade 6), and I plan to observe as many teachers as I can this year. It’s way more valuable PD time than most of the PD teachers are required to endure. So be the first to start a trend — taking advantage of your colleagues as models from which to learn.

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