Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Make this one change to PD and see what happens

In a recent presentation by John Draper, I was reminded of the power of language. Language is a culture builder, pain inducer, confidence booster, safety provider, and more. How we frame problems makes a difference. How we describe actions provides insight. 

Dr. Draper shared a story about a potential employee for Disney. Potential employees don’t go for interviews, they go to auditions. If they are hired, they’re not called employees, they’re called cast members. If you visit Disney, you’re not a customer, you’re a Guest. Disney intentionally uses those terms because they mean something special for their organization.

We do this at our school. When we welcome new teachers to our staff, we welcome them to the Buc Family. We are making implications with our words. We are being intentional.  

Each month, our teachers attend teacher-led or admin-led “PD sessions” during their off periods. (What thoughts come to mind when you see the words "PD sessions"?) 

This year, we made a change in what we call those meetings. We now call it Collaboration Hour

For the first meeting, we changed the name, but I didn't give much direction to our teachers who were leading the meeting. There was a little collaboration that happened, but more was needed to maximize learning and create more of a "shared experience" for our teachers.  For the most recent one called Write to Learn, I talked with the two teachers who would be leading the session and told them that I really wanted them to design the meeting so that teachers were DOING - and not just listening about - the strategy they would be teaching.

The teachers did a fabulous job in creating a truly Collaborative Hour for our teachers, and the positive feedback has been overwhelming. Teachers have been sharing with me how they are using the Write to Learn strategies in their classrooms, how much they appreciated the session, and how much they enjoyed the meeting. 

What do you think about this idea? Is it one you will try?

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