I recently re-listened to Dan Taylor and John Mikton’s The International Schools Podcast, in which John interviewed my old podcasting partner Jeff Utecht and his current podcasting partner Tricia Friedman. Look to listen to the episode as they cover interesting topics, including professional development (PD). Jeff and Tricia are consultants and PD providers, so they shared many helpful insights on this topic.
What caught my attention was when Jeff noted that we need to move away from the term “professional development" and towards “personal learning.” His statement reminded me of our 2015 Ed Tech Co-Op podcast’s episode entitled “Personalizing PD.” In that episode, Jeff and I discussed multiple pathways to support educators’ professional and personal learning. Our big takeaway was, yes, build in a system for individualized learning -- not just around professional learning but also around personal non-work-focused learning. We also noted that the one-size-fits-all “sit and git” of bringing in the entire faculty for PD sessions is a dated model for learning. It was a helpful episode if you ask me. What we said in 2015 is even more relevant today to the conventional practice of bringing in consultants for face-to-face learning, which (thankfully) stopped during the pandemic.
One takeaway from our discussion on Shifting Schools is that helping teachers see their learning as networked and part of a system might help them to visualize how to construct a Professional Learning Network (PLN) to have agency over their learning while personalizing it. I get many ideas to improve my teaching by reading and listening to thought leaders who are not educators. It is past time for educators to make the shift away from thinking that their school is their primary learning provider. We also spoke about the need to avoid siloing our learning into professional versus personal. Many folks have their social networking and information resource providers mixing in professional and personal learning simultaneously.
Jeff joined us for an episode of Educators Going Global to discuss what he sees domestically and internationally as a consultant and adult learning provider.