This year, our theme is Enhancing and Sustaining Professional Learning because we believe that every teaching colleague has a responsibility to not only build his/her own capacity but to also build student agency as well. And, to do that, one must recognize the power of collaboration and how instructional coaches promote the notion that learning is social.
So, yes, we want to put “Professional” back into the idea of teachers taking ownership of their learning but first we must value that everyone is a member in a community of learning and practice. We must also recognize three things:
- Coaches are not experts but either are their teaching colleagues; there is always room to learn more and being an expert implies that they "know it all." Coaches are, however, skilled practitioners who understand the science of adult learning and how that translates into effective practice;
- Professional development does not influence teaching and learning unless and until the “stuff” we share with our teaching colleagues transfers into professional learning which can only be accomplished when there is ongoing, consistent follow up to the PD;
- The professional learning sessions must be relevant, useful, ongoing, engaging, evidenced-based, and respectful to the adult learners.
When schools and districts recognize the strength of teaching colleagues thinking, planning, and working together, that’s when there will be a change in teaching practices that will influence student outcomes.
How do you reinforce teacher and student agency?