This is Part I of a four part post on the Teaching and Learning Profile Roadmap. Part I introduces the TL Profile Roadmap and explains the profile portion. Part II. explains the roadmap section where teachers develop a “proof of concept” of sorts on how they will infuse new strategies into the classroom and why using five key questions Part III. explains how this is brought to and used with teachers. Finally, Part IV. discusses how it fits into our larger three tier professional development model.
Professional development is a critical part of my current role and a passion of mine dating back to my first pre-service days. But, and probably the reason for my high interest, it is a most challenging educational component such as these (and many other) ideas that drive my thinking and action:
Leverage adult learning. Think Vision, Act Pragmatic. Root instructional strategies and choice with learner traits, learning theory, engagement/motivation, and assessment. Focus on instruction not tools. Personalize the professional development. Make sure teacher autonomy is maintained. Work towards systemic change. Provide multiple streams of learning both formal and informal. Offer just-in time learning independent of time, space, place, and path. Model, model, model. Balance foundational needs, classroom connections (the key), and innovation. Link teachers with a network for enhanced learning – PLN, PLC, and on and on.
Over the past two years, one key component to our professional development program has been the Teaching and Learning Profile Roadmap. This was developed over a years time with the focus of addressing many of the thoughts above with an eye towards building relationships, understanding our teachers, establishing entry points, and personalizing learning.
How Does The Profile Develop
Guiding Questions and SHED
The starting point for process is rooted in the question “what does it mean to be well-educated in the 21st Century”. To answer the question, we focus on the teacher’s core values about learning and teaching rooted in the skills, habits, experiences, and dispositions they feel help shape a well-educated student. We use the oft frowned upon “21st Century” to contextualize the experience. The build across the top of the page (to the right of the arrow) along with values held true school and district-wide: engagement, critical thinking, literacies, and global citizenship. This serves to link personal and organizational focuses. It also allows us to really understand the teacher’s learning and teaching philosophy. With that knowledge, there is much we can do together!
It is really easy to say “critical thinking”, creativity, collaboration, etc. but what do they mean? What lens is the teacher viewing those broad values? What are the keys to their perspective on what it means? By having the teachers frame their working definition, we can begin to build upon that foundation much better than simply assuming what they mean by such statements.
Much like the definition/keys, this is about better understanding the teacher’s lens. Where did they learn about that value? Who are the colleagues or researchers that provided a framework? This information gives us the opportunity to broaden or deepen their understanding if needed. It also allows us to course correct or provide alternative perspectives if needed. Most importantly, we are coming to better understand the teacher’s pedagogical beliefs in order to personalize their learning.
This is where we get into how they go about achieving their SHED values in the classroom. This gives us professional development entry points and provides us with a clear picture of how their pedagogical beliefs translate into classroom practices. As their profile begins to build, there are rich opportunities for discussions, questions, and sharing. This leads to roadblocks.
Regardless of experience level, teachers quickly can point to roadblocks that emerge with their instructional strategies. This provides for rich discussion, troubleshooting, and additional entry points for professional development.
Finally, we have an opportunity to discuss tools that support their pedagogical beliefs, address roadblocks, and broaden and deepen their teaching approaches. The key here is that it comes last and makes more sense to the teacher because we start with our common ground: learning and teaching.
Here is a real example from a teacher’s first two columns (teacher granted permission for it to be shared) from over two years ago when we first started using this.
What are your thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Does this TL Profile Roadmap make sense?