Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Self-driven and Classroom-based: Professional Development in the 21st Century


The basic premise of this 30 minute presentation is think about how we continue to develop as a teacher in this digital age. The first is using the digital tools we do have access to in a way that is most beneficial to our personal growth and the second part is about using the tools we have within to grow and learn.

We have access to blogs and webinars that we can use create networks that can aide us in becoming a stronger, more diverse teacher. However, the preseneter, Konrad Glogowski, challenges that social networks can only provide with a passive learning experience, learning through what others have done successfully and what challenges they came up against.We can only read or hear about their experience through their eyes. It does not take into effect our individual challenges, styles, classrooms, etc. Glogowski contends that by identifying a select few individuals that we can actually disect tools, processes, material with and discuss our own situations with, can we actively learn and grow professionally. These select few may be from across the country or world and not just in our backyard or school system, but they must make a committment to part of your active growth and you in turn commit to be part of theirs.

The second part of the presentation asserts that dispite the information accessible through the social networks in play in our culture now, we have the strongest tool within ourselves. Through systemic evaluation of ourselves outside the classroom and inside the classroom, we are able to reflect upon what pre programed beliefs we bring to our classroom and how it effects our teaching. Through evaluating our classroom, our learners, our materials we can create a stronger lesson plan to help students can become life long learners.

The premise that we can become stronger teachers through a reflective processes has merit but has to be only a part of my teaching career. I think it is important for you to evaluate what you should stop doing, what you should keep doing and what you need to start doing. Self Evaluation is part of any private sector annual review process. In this case, you can't wait until the end of the year to do this evaluation. There is too much at risk. It is important to evaluate ourselves both personally and professionaly. Our world is constantly evolving and if we don't evolve with it than we are going to be left behind.

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