Let’s talk.

After 30 years in education, I have never felt more dedicated to student success and the adults who support that success. I am invigorated about the future of education while also nervous. This blog is an opportunity for us to have shared conversations. There is a lot to talk about, so let’s focus on student success and high quality professional development. In the words of Sitting Bull, “Let’s put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”

The education world talks a lot about how students learn. Is it just as important to consider how educators learn? I think so. While watching Learning Forward’s Academy class of 2014 participants graduate from their 2-1/2 year learning experience, I was reminded that those formal face-to-face sessions, held over time, are invaluable. It’s a time to focus, ponder, and reflect. Workshops and conferences are also critical to refreshing our energy and opening our eyes to new ideas, ways, and strategies.

But, how else do you learn? During a recent conference call with participants across the US, a very experienced educator shared that she learns more from informal professional development. I totally agree! While those of us in school districts and other institutions need and are grateful for time dedicated to professional development, we learn in so many ways!

One of my soap boxes with Allen ISD staff (and I frequently step up on that invisible box) is that you don’t learn from just sitting in a room, listening to an expert with a PowerPoint at the front of the room. You learn when you run across the hall between 1st and 2nd period to ask a colleague a question about proportionality. You learn when walking your kids to the cafeteria and grabbing 30 seconds to check with your colleague about inferencing. You learn so much in your weekly learning community reviewing data and working on instructional plans. Don’t you also learn from Twitter? I do!

Let’s all expand our professional learning networks — PLNs. Let’s use formal sessions such as conferences, academies, and workshops to learn, but let’s also network, consult, confer with and follow local, regional and national colleagues and experts. Let’s just learn anytime, anyplace!