I have been very fortunate to attend to a lot of Professional Development over the past two years. There can be a misconception that PD is a “day off” or “break” from the everyday grind of the classroom. Truly effective PD is not any of that, it is a motivator that often adds to the efforts that directly impact my classroom and pedagogy. There are two types of P.D.: Mandated & Personalized (based on interest and content).
Mandated refers to the opportunities that are specific to your grade or division and involve ministry initiatives (usually numeracy at this point in the educational pendulum). Personalized are when they meet the current learning needs of the teacher. This can be teacher directed or an opportunity that matches the current interests of the teacher. All are related to the curriculum and are useful to supporting teaching pedagogy, school climate, and overall student success.
It is a refreshing, refocusing, reenergizing experience that often leads me with a lot of ideas that I want to try right away. Today for example I went to Massey Street Public School to take in the pedagogy, research and practical set-up of two classrooms (and overall school climate) that are designed to reduce stress and increase engagement. This was sparked from the article that I have linked up here (and current collaboration with my class at Macville). Read the article, well worth a few minutes.
Here are my takeaways that I want to explore before the end of June:
- remove desks & add round tables (creative zone visit today helped supply this transition)
- paint tables with whiteboard paint (so erasable markers can be used directly on surface)
- introduce bubble gum (reduces stress- some interesting research out there)
- continue to relax specific seating requirements and a one-size fits all method (e.g., some students sit on the carpet, use chairs, stand, and walk during instruction).
I can’t wait to get started, look for updates on twitter! @brandonpachan