*Warning: This is simultaneously the culmination of over a year’s worth of thinking about PD almost non-stop AND a complete rough draft of my own framework for understanding that. I’m going to embrace it by thinking in public. You have been warned.
Today I facilitated an Edcamp with the Coalition of Essential Schools. Every year they have a Fall Forum, and this year they wanted to try out having an Edcamp on the tail end. It was a pretty awesome group, with a blend of people who had attended the conference all week plus a good number of people who lived in the area and wanted to come do the Edcamp thing with us.
At some point during the morning I grabbed a picture of the schedule and tweeted it out.
Here’s what I said: “An #Edcamp session board is an expression of the values of the community that builds it. Here’s what #edcampces values”
I was about halfway home before I realized that I was only partly right.
During the second session, I participated in a session about Progressive Education and Public Education. Mostly I sat and listened as the room talked about a ton of different ideas.
At points the debate got a little heated, and in retrospect I realized that some aspects of the discussion, such as trying to define things like Progressive Education and the Purpose of Public Education, were also very much arguments about the values that the community holds.
Important realization of the day: Everything a community does is an expression of its values.
Given that, Professional Development is an expression of a community’s values.
If we know this and own it, how would we change the way that PD operates in our schools and organizations? Do we think the way we run PD is a reflection of what we want our values to be? Are we failing our values? How can we improve PD to better reflect those values?
This all is feeling very important to me right now. I’m increasingly feeling like all of my conversations these days keep coming back to ideas around how communities work, and how that work is informed by the things they actually care about, which is sometimes in opposition to the things they say they care about.
I’m thinking my next few posts (ack! public commitment to write!) here will take a look at 4 big buckets that I see for the ways we plan and implement PD, and try an unpack the ways they reflect the kinds of values we want to express in our environments: Content, Format, People, and Structures.
I think I’m going to hit those in more or less that order (although I keep going back and forth about switching Format and People), so if you have anything you’d like to say right now that you’d like me to know and/or wrestle with in terms of Content, I’d love to have you talk about it in the comments below. Or on Twitter. Or by e-mail. Or by carrier pigeon, because how cool would it be to have a message delivered by bird?