Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Reflections on Professional Learning

Engaged in the summer task of going through the word documents, power points, usb drives, photos, filing cabinets, book shelves, and boxes (a career in teaching is messy – it does not all fit neatly into my laptop or iPad), I found a chart I wrote about ten years ago. At first glance, the age of the chart alone might be reason enough to recycle it. I, however, am incapable of stopping at first glance, and when presented with a chart I am compelled to read it. (This may explain why I am still engaged in this task on August 29th.)

The chart was one of two that I created in my best Grade 1 Teacher printing after seeing Carl Glickman at the Distinguished Lecturer series hosted by Manitoba ASCD.  This copy hung in my office as a daily reminder and vision statement of what I believed about professional learning for the educators I worked alongside and myself.  The second copy I took with me to schools and sessions across our district, often leaving it behind for teachers to post in their staff rooms to serve as a reminder, a conversation, a nudge, an inspiration, and yes, a challenge. I rewrote those words many times and left the chart behind because I believed then, and still do, in the power of anchor charts to serve as a constant and ever-present reminder for learners of what we as a community hold to be true.

The educator I am today might choose to reframe these ideas, preferring to make an explicitly positive presupposition and to create a beginning list of possibilities or criteria that we as learners might explore and add to together:

I begin this school year with a new chart in my office. One that reflects what I believe now about professional learning and that echoes the words of Lorri Nielsen who has written that professional learning is not something done to us as educators, but rather is something we do for ourselves.


Glickman, Carl. 2002. Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Nielsen, Lorri. 1994. A Stone In My Shoe: Teaching Literacy in Times of Change. Winnipeg, MB: Peguis Publishers.