« Leadership Flavor of the Week | Main | Towards Developing Global, 21st Century Leadership Skills »

Discussing Institute Days

I am of the belief that the best institute days are not so much about learning, as much as a commitment to it. They are not about moments of community but a continued commitment to it. They aren’t so much about the day but what the days ahead will bring.

Those are the things I value when deciding upon and designing our institute days as was the case with our 2nd Annual Teachers Teaching Teachers Mini-Conference on March 2nd where we again tapped the shoulders of professionals in the classroom to give them a greater responsibility and a stronger voice to encourage the personalization of learning opportunities designed as a community.

Key Elements of the Day
Best Practices in Professional Development: The key to designing this day was a focus on best practices in professional development and adult learning as a microcosm for a coherent, well-designed approach to sustained, ongoing learning for all in a transparent culture of innovation and change:
logo design by GBN student Matt C.

• Choice
• Collaborative
• Application and collective inquiry time
• Connected to practice
• Art and science of teaching
• Teacher Driven
• Diverse
• Learning not Training
• Transparent
• Informal and Formal
• Modeling
• Networking
• Intensive, Challenging, and Thought-Provoking
• Aligned
• Internal
• External

Establishing Tone: The notion of an institute day for many brings about negative feelings and frustration over wasted time. Thus, it was critical to set a tone that this was more than just another institute day. This is why a conference approach was selected for its ease of creating an atmosphere of celebration, community, and change. Not to mention, it allowed for the selection of a keynote speaker to establish and set the tone for the day for which David Warlick did exceptionally well.


Stakeholder Involvement: It is critical that these days are not created in isolation but include the voices of those in which the day serves: teachers, administrators, and students. However, this does not mean merely a the setup of a committee. It is about that committee gathering insights, concerns, and ideas from their colleagues and sharing these together so that all voices are included. In many ways, it is about a transparent process and design.

The Next Approach: For me, I’m thinking in terms of the next 100 days: how we will extend the learning in breadth and depth, implement the proof of concepts in a systemic way, support the collaborative investigations with just-in time movements, sustain the energy to push forward for new heights during the Dip, and adjust the sails of our learning community in order to maintain a culture of change and innovation without restriction.

The Symbolic Nature of the Day
This day was important for what it represented symbolically . In fact, the value in this day was the coming together in a celebratory way as a community reflecting upon where we were, showcasing how far we’ve come, and taking first steps towards where we are going.

Does learning occur on this day? Absolutely! But the day is a celebration of community, a celebration of life long learning, and a celebration of change.

This is a strategic approach where each step is designed to reenergize batteries, assess and evaluate who we are as a learning community, and coming together in the spirit of a continued belief in growing, stretching and pushing.

Our institute day was designed with those pieces in mind, with the driving question always on how do we encapsulate the spirit of community and the celebration of change and growth past, present, and future.

This day laid out how we want to approach professional development and adult learning. But, the true test of how successful these approaches are does not come from the day but how we live up to the day: create energy, address concerns, foster risk-taking, encourage creativity, push the boundaries of innovation, promote collaboration and sharing, offer just-in time learning, focus on methodology, drive change, and stoke the passion of these professionals on a day to day basis!

Next year, we will come together again in the spirit of celebration as a community, life-long learners, and change agents in a change culture. By coming together in celebration, we will better understand where we’ve come from again: evolution of presentation to a greater degree of breadth and depth, diversified offerings, presentations exploring new heights, new innovations, and new discoveries in the spirit of teaching and learning in the 21st Century, enhancing our methodology in the spirit of best practice, and more and more voices behind heard.

What are we, as building leaders, doing to create this culture? What are we doing to avoid the "wasn't that day great" mentality that paralyzes the community, culture, and learning if left at just that? How are we leveraging the wealth of information in NSDC's Professional Learning in the Learning Profession report? How are we making sure our approach is not espoused theory but theory in use?

These are elements that drive our approach to professional development and adult learning.

When you look at your formal learning days or institute days, what are these meant to accomplish? What are the goals for the day and how do these build upon or lay a foundation for the daily professional development work that shapes teaching and learning? Are these days painting a picture that says this is it or does it create a sense of celebration and continuation of something much greater?

As Lao-tzu stated, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and institute days should be about those single steps and the celebration of the many steps along the miles and miles of the journey. What about your institute days?

Reference

Hammond-Darling, L., R. Chung Wei, et al. (2009).Professional Learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad. National Staff Development Council.

Logo designed by Matt C., a Glenbrook North High School student
Photo of NetGen area by Rafael B. Iriarte

A big thank you to all the presenters and the GBN technology advisors, teachers, Art 4 students, instructional technology department, and administrative team for all their work on this microcosm!

Ryan Bretag
Metanoia

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags

#ccko9
#eci831
#ic3s21
#passiondriven
1:1
1:1 laptops
21st century
21st Century
21st Century Schools
21st Century Skills
21st Century skills
Abraham Lincoln
Accountability
accountabilty
adifference
administrator
Adolescent Literacy Panel
advice
aldonza
aleccouros
Alfie Kohn
Angela Maiers
aptitude
Arthur Benjamin
Artists
Arts
ASCD
Assessment
astronaut
Author
avatar
basketball
Beyond Discipline
Blog
blogging
blogs
boss
calculus
Capacity
Career and College Readiness
Carnegie Foundation
CEDS
Cell Phones
Challenge
Change
change
Charleston Children's Museum
Chris Anderson
CIES
class blogs
Clay Shirky
College
Colonel Eileen Collins
commenting
commitment
communication
Community
community
comparative
compassion
compensation
Comprehension
Comprhension
computers in the classroom
Constructivism
cookie
Copyright_infringement
Copyright_laws
Council of Conscience
creativity
Creativity
Creativity Conversation
Creativity Index
Cultivate
Dan Pink
death valley
Decision making
dennisar
Derailed
Disruptive Innovation
Divergent
dkuropatwa
Don Quixote
Dr. Jeff
Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Drive
dulcinea
Education
education
Education in the United States
educational change
Educational Leadership
educational leadership
educational technology leadership
Educators
effectiveness
Element
empathy
Enactivism
energy savings
Engage
engineering
Engineering
evaluation
evernote
evsc
Facebook
failure
Feedback
Festival
Film festival
firing
formative and summative assessments
Frank Smith
friendship
Future
Garr Reynolds
georgesiemens
Global
Golden Rule
Grades
green technology
heart
heart of a teacher
high school
High school
Higher Education
Higher Order Thinking Skills
hire
history
HOME
Home School Partnership
Homework
hospitals
humility
I Notice
Ian Jukes
Ideas
Identity crisis
imagination
Improvement
improvement
Indexing
influence
Innovation
innovation
innovation3
innovation3 llc
inspiration
instructional leadership
Interests
international
International Society for Technology in Education
interview
ipad
ISTE
Jayson Richardson
job
Job Readiness
John Seely Brown
K through 12
K-8
Karen Armstrong
karl fisch
kellychristopherson
Kent
leaderhhip coaching
leadershiop
leadership
Leadership
leadership development
leadership management influence
Leadership Resources
lean
learning
Learning
Learning 21st Century
legislation
Lifelong learning
Literacy
Literacy and Learning
Love
Man of La Mancha
management
math
math education
mathematics
Mathematics
mboe
Media literacy
medicine
mentoring
merit pay
mguhlin
Michael Watkins
Minds on Fire
moodle
Motivation
Movies
Multiple choice
NAESP
NASA
national educational technology plan
National Governors Association
NCESSE
Neil Rochelle
netbooks
NETS-A
Norma Rae
Nurture
Obama
one to one
online
online learning
Online Software
Originality
osu
Paradoxical Commandments
Parent Invovlement
Parent Partnership
passion
Passion Driven Classroom
Passion Education
Passion Leadership
performance
pete reilly
peter o'toole
Peter Senge
plagiarism
pln
PLN
plurk
Positive feedback
power
preconceptions
President Kennedy
Principal
principal
principal preparation
priorities
probability
Problem Solving
productivity
Professional development
publishing
read/write web
Reading
Reading Next
Reflection
reform
religion
reorganization
research
saving IT dollars
Schedules
school leadership
School Reform
schooling
science
Science
Scott McCloud
Scott McLeod
Second Life
self management
Seth Godin
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai
SIF
Sir Ken Robinson
sir ken robinson
SLC
Social Media
Social Networking
sophia loren
Standardized test
statistics
STEM
stephaniepacemarshall
stephendownes
strategy leadership
student achievement
student led conferences
suffering
summer
Switzerland
systemic change
teacher
Teacher
Teacher Professional Development
teachers
Teachers College Columbia University
teaching
Technology
technology
technology change
Technology integration
technology research
TED
TED Prize
textbooks
The First 90 Days
thin client
Thinking
Thomas Dewey
Tim Irwin
time management
Time To Act
transformation
transformative change
transitions
Tribes-We Need You To Lead Us
Twitter
twitter
Uniqueness
United States
University
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Kentucky
vacation
Value
Vision
vision
Wagner
walkthroughs
Web 2.0
Web Filtering
Webinar
weighting
Whole New Mind
wisdom
Wordle
workforce
World Read Aloud Day
Young People