I love presenting! It is a true passion for me! I can be tired and sick, but as soon as it is time for me to present, I am on! However, as the years are going by, I am learning more and more about what makes a successful session. My latest "aha" is about including teacher voice in my professional development sessions. It is said that we teach the way we like to be taught. And I am the person who likes to learn from the presenter, be hands on while learning and then leave to play. So that is how I presented! I tried to make sure my participants had a device so they could click along with me or some type of hands-on, note taking capability and I lectured while they came along for the ride. That was my sweet spot...lecturing with a hands-on component.
Then, while working an EdTechTeam Summit, I starting flipping through Sylvia Duckworth's Sketchnotes for Educators book. The sketchnote about professional development really spoke to me.
I started to think about the professional development sessions I attend where they give you time to discuss with others. While I still do not particularly like those types of sessions, I noticed teachers coming alive during the times they were allowed to learn from each other. Recently, I began adding collaboration time in my sessions. I call it speed dating. I allow teachers time to discuss concerns and questions with each other. Sometimes, I hear the topic being discussed in the speed dating groups starting to veer away from the topic I am teaching, but even when that happens, I hear the most rich conversations about practical teaching strategies. On evaluations, I am told time and time again that the best part of the training is the time they can evaluate what they just learned with the teachers around them.
It has been really eye-opening for me. I now know how important it is for teachers to have a voice and have the time to share that voice with other educators. The struggle for me now is how to do this in sessions that are an hour or less. It is hard for me to let go of teaching information to give teachers this time to collaborate, but I know how important it is. So that is where I am at the moment. How do I teach the content I want and still give them time to collaborate in a small amount of time? I honestly think the answer is I don't. I let go of some content to allow them to evaluate the content I do teach them. While I know that in my head, I now have to put it into practice! We shall see how it goes!!!!
Desiree Alexander aka Educator Alexander is excited about her first blog, Honestly Desiree! Learn more about her at www.educatoralexander.com/about.