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Rethinking the Purpose, Process and Promise of Professional Learning

Session 1
Kristen Swanson and David Jakes — Senior Director of the Research Institute at BrightBytes (Swanson) and Digital Designer and Strategist for The Third Teacher+ and CannonDesign (Jakes)

Professional development in schools is intended to support the growth and improvement of learning organizations. There are traditional practices associated with "PD" such as inservice days, invited speakers, and school-based workshops that are defined and scheduled for educators. Too often these events are less than effective, and the entire practice of professional development is often seen by educators as ineffective and something done to them. The result of such practice is a well-defined cultural mindset in education that learning opportunities for teachers are created for them, that teachers need "training" provided for them, and that educators are not necessary in control of their own learning. This mindset exists at a time when learning opportunities are limitless, and that anyone can learn almost anything and at a time and place of their choosing. We seek to challenge educators to rethink the language and boundaries associated with professional development, and initiate a reflective process that encourages participants to start to shift their mindset towards a new vision for adult learning in schools.

Conversational Practice

The center of this conversation focuses on challenging participants to rethink their perceptions of how schools, as learning institutions, support adult learning. The conversation will present five provocations for consideration and discussion. Participants will be challenged to balance their current beliefs about professional development against new models of adult learning that utilize contemporary learning opportunities as a basis for organizational growth and development.

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