Preparing the waters for change.

St Lawrence River
Image: photo of the St Lawrence River taken by me, available on flickr.

mrsdurff introduced me to Class 2.0 in a recent comment on Understanding the Machine.

I love the idea behind this site, and behind different workshops that places like LEARN in Quebec offer teachers.

How do we negotiate the space between resources on the one hand (PD seminars and workshops, online tutorials, peers, books…) and teachers on the other?

I asked some of these questions in an earlier post called Creating a Whole Brain Model for Education Reform

* How can we create a ‘mashup’ of left and right brain tasks and environments that make sense to kids as learners and teachers as educators?
* How can we create professional development experiences that not only teach these ideas but model them as well?   

* How can we manage the transitions?

It is that last one that I find so delicate and integral. We can create all kinds of curricula and workshops to share them with teachers, but unless teachers want to learn about them and use them..well, not much will change.

I think the answer lies in sustained professional development. PD that spends a lot of its time, at first, with teachers in conversation about what is important to them, their values. Time spent rediscovering (for some) and fueling their passion for teaching and looking at how Web 2.0 fits in to all of that.

When I say sustained I mean not one session at the beginning of the year, but each month throughout the year – throw away the %$#@! monthly staff meetings and replace them with teacher development time, where the community gets together to share, talk, and grow. Invite a student every once in a while to keep us on our toes as well! Make sure parents know what is going on and are involved in learning sessions as well, to keep the school accountable for the change.

This requires a leader with a strong vision who recognizes the needs of his or her teachers at the same time as the students.

As you can see, this is something I think about a lot. I have begun the process at one school I work at and we are seeing change in small yet integral areas. It is infectious and exciting. The waters are flowing.

We will surely be using Class 2.0 with some of the teachers at this school!

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