Lorna Jackson Public School Blog

New frontiers for new learning

Learning: it’s everywhere.

Used with permission under Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/heycoach/1197947341

Used with permission under Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/heycoach/1197947341

We sometimes think of learning as “something that students do”. This week, I also want to share some of the professional learning our staff engages in both inside and outside of our school. The scope of that learning is very wide so I won’t be able to capture every opportunity here, but want to share a few examples with you.

Many of our staff take courses that lead to additional qualifications or certification including: workshops, online courses, conferences, Additional Qualification courses and training sessions. Lots of our staff enjoy reading as a means of professional development that includes: professional books, magazines, publications from professional organizations, and scholarly articles. Staff use online opportunities for learning including: websites, online chat rooms, twitter professional learning teams and e-learning modules. Finally, many of our staff participate in face-to-face learning opportunities such as: after school workshops, book studies, learning networks and even visiting host schools or classrooms. Last weekend, some of our staff participated in our board’s Google Camp  that brought together over 500 staff from across our board.

This year, as an administrative team, Ms Bongard and myself are also supporting job embedded learning opportunities for teams of staff to work collaboratively. So far, three teams have met in teams that have also included our school’s Literacy Teacher and Teacher-Librarian, teachers, Ms Bongard and myself. We have made a commitment to meet early in the year, learn, implement our learning and thinking in our classrooms and then reconvene 6-8 weeks later to monitor our work. We work through a cycle of determining student learning needs, planning, teaching, assessing, evaluating student progress and assessing overall results. It is complex work, but Ms Bongard and myself must say, the sessions so far have been rich. We appreciate the staff’s commitment to building professional learning communities at our school.

Finally, you may wonder what happens on Professional Activity Days that occur throughout the year. This Friday for example, our school will focus on our School Improvement Plan. Our Director, Ken Thurston shared a number of key ideas for our work this year in his annual address at our board’s leadership conference that will also help to frame our work Friday. We will also spend time working in teams, exploring Learning Goals and Success criteria to support student achievement, exploring the questions we ask within our math lessons, planning for differentiation within our work, developing our school’s  “Challenge of Practice” (more to come on this) and examining some new resources we have purchased as a school. And so, the day too will be rich.

One final way we often don’t think about is the learning that happens with students each day. We love the times when, be it a lesson, task or discussion, we learn from and with our students.

Again, it is difficult to capture the wide variety of ways that our staff engages in learning. Perhaps it is best to say “learning, it’s everywhere”.

Please let us know about the learning you engage in.

Mr. Collins

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