November 24, 2021
This past week, a principal said something very interesting to me in a conversation about instructional leadership. She stated, “We are being told that we are leading in a post-pandemic world and, yet, it seems we are still very much in the time of the pandemic.” She continued by sharing that COVID protocols are still being carefully followed in schools and that, as a result of a shortage of substitute teachers, she is teaching classes almost every day. She understood that conversations about teaching and learning are central to the work in schools; however, there is still little time and energy for that and, when there is, she barely has time to plan powerful learning experiences for her teachers.
This leader’s reality is one that has been shared with us by many. Her sentiments and struggles are common and what underlies them is a deep belief that continued learning for her faculty is not only important, but necessary.
The pandemic caused us to create learning opportunities that could be accessed asynchronously, in order to meet the challenges that were presenting themselves. After 19 months of that, teachers and leaders are now coming together in shared spaces to learn, reflect, and talk with one another face-to-face. It is joyful to feel the synergy that exists in a room when we can be there together…even when masked and socially distanced.
At the same time, we can still leverage the incredible amount of online content that has been created in the past year and a half and blend it with synchronous facilitation. At connect2learning, we have associates to help you plan with that structure in mind, so that you can feel confident and provide quality learning opportunities for you and those whom you support.
This month, as we plan for the beginning of the next calendar year, we are focusing on how we can support you to engage your staff in professional learning, even if you do not have time to prepare for that yourself. Like you, we continue to understand the importance of keeping a thread of professional learning alive for others and ourselves.
- Online content can be used as the material for a jigsaw. Staff can be divided into groups of four or five colleagues. Each group engages in learning about one module/topic/video in an online resource. The groups are then reconstituted, so that there is one person in each group who has completed one different module/topic/video. Teachers share what they learned, by responding to these three questions:
- What is the collective impact of the videos on your thinking?
- What is really resonating for you?
- What questions continue to surface for you?
- Educators might watch a video synchronously and then move to small groups for facilitated follow-up discussions about:
- Ways that the video validates current practice
- Ways that the video invites future opportunities
- Questions that the video surfaces
Subsequently, participants post a synthesis of what they learned in a shared document.
What we want you to know is that you do not need to do this work alone. We are here to help you plan for and facilitate professional learning that can generate optimism and momentum as we look to the future!