This summer break I was priviledged to facilitate 2 of the new IB workshops.
- Buidling for the Future (Regional workshop)
- Making the PYP Happen – Implementing Agency. (In-School workshop)
IBEN Workshop leaders are supported by the new workshop guidelines and slides – but the guidelines very much put the workshop leader in the driving seat and encourage a focus on the learners and their needs.
“As Workshop Leaders, you have flexibility to choose learning engagements that develop the workshop understandings taking consideration of the workshop cohort and context as well as making connections to the IB programme standards and practices and any new materials that are published by the IB.
Please consider how the learning engagements you select reflect the aspirational aims of PYP workshops, in particular how they:
- meet functional, emotional and social needs of participants
- support multiple ways to engage in learning
- promote professional capability development
- recognise the diversity and experience of its educators
- recognise and promote that everyone is an architect of his/ her own learning
- support collaboration through local and global learning networks
focuses on praxis; providing practical application and an evidence base “
(Building for the Future – Guidelines)
In the lead up, I had some time to review, plan and think about the best way forward for these new workshops. I am a huge believer that we as educators should always be striving to model our beliefs of constuctivism, inquiry and, now, agency,through all adult professional development opportunities.
I have also been very priveledged to have worked with Taryn (@makinggoodhumans) and the Studio teams at ISHCMC (www.ishcmc.com) for the past two years. Taryn and the studio teams also have very strong beliefs that learning is first and foremost about the individual learners and their needs.
When running some adult Professional Development sessions last year Taryn took some time to reflect on her process as facilitator of professional development and then took a risk and introduced the ‘self-directed’ model in her workshops. Taryn blogged about her experience here.
Whilst planning for these workshops, I reviewed the conceptual understandings and realised that each of these conceptual understandings were a workshop in itself – especially at this time of the PYP review and the new documents.
So how best to ensure that the conceptual understandings were introduced to a diverse group of learners – all with individual needs?
I took some time to let my thoughts percolate. I revisited the IB guidelines and slides, and went back many times to Taryn’s model of Professional Development.
As the list of participants was published – I began to design a pre-survey / questionnaire to try and get as much information about my learners as I could, hoping this would give me some direction.
Q1: Where are your school in their PYP Journey?
Q2: Who are YOU as a learner? How do YOU prefer to learn?
Q3 – 6: Using Compass points – NEED to know, STRUGGLES as your school implement the Enhance PYP, What are you EXCITED about for the workshop, WHERE are your school in their journey in reference to the Enhanced PYP and WHAT would you like support with as a leader?
I was fortunate in that my workshop participants and learners were so responsive to the survey ( often this does not happen!)
The survey told me that, as it was a regional workshop, there was a mix of learners;
- Authourised schools
- Candidate schools
- Private schools
- State schools.
- Australian schools
- International schools.
- Some who had spent time unpacking the Enhancements
- Some who had not yet begun to explore the Enhancements
- Some who were new leaders in their school and,
- Some who were experienced leaders in their school.
So – where to start? How could I ensure that all learners would be able to access the workshop and, at the same time, have all their wonderings and concerns met whilst also ensuring they had some ‘take back’ for their school communities?
Thw workshop guidelines and slides also had the Action Question focus:
Thus, it was an expectation that time and space were to be provided for reflection and formulation of action plans. Reviewing my list of participants, I also noticed that we had some ‘teams’ attending who would be learning together.
So, inspired by Taryn’s risktaking and motivated by my beliefs on what a adult professional development model should reflect I came up with a plan.
Over the 3 days, we would move from a more ‘guided’ inquiry to one of ’empowerment’ .
Day 1 – Would focus on tuning in, building community, connecting to the new documents and formulating an action plan by reflecting on both our own personal and our school needs.
So Day 1 pretty much looked like most other Professional Development experiences as we learned a little about each other and took time to build a learning community, acknowledging our experiences, our contexts and the expertise in the room and sharing our struggles and questions.
Why were changes to the PYP needed?
And what of those changes provided a deeper focus or more explicit guidance than before and what elements were new and different than before?
We then took some time to explore the ‘stages of concern’ model (CBAM)
and reflected on where our schools were on their understanding of these changes and their willingness to change and explore.
All this to try to identify where in the room were the experts and where were the learners.
As we closed Session 2 of Day 1, we introduced the OSCAR action plan template. Now that we had tuned in and had begun to unpack the new documents – what were our continued questions and own goals for learning?
Session 3 of Day 1 focused mostly on Collaboration . if we believed in the power of collaboration (and could define it!) then how were we ensuring that all members of our learning community were honoured and included in our communities?
And, through the 8 Cultural Forces (Ron Richhart) how were we providing opportunities for collaboration for our different community groups and members?
Day 1, Session 4: – we begun to unpack the New Standards and Practices and the idea of writing ‘motifs’ to develop our school narrative around the 4 pillars of Culture, Purpose, Environment and Learning. (seperate blog post coming on writing ‘Motifs’).
This is the documentation / video from some of our learning through Day 1.
So on to Day 2….
This is where I was now stepping out of my comfort zone, taking a risk and didn’t quite know how the day would go. How would my learners respond? How could I support and facilitate for all learners throughout the day?
I had a constant internal struggle worrying about whether if I was trying something new for the right reasons. Was it just it was just something I wanted, or was this truly about my learners?
Revisiting my beliefs about learning and the premise that this workshop was not about me – but my learners and THEIR learning and THEIR needs rather than mine and that as empowered learners they needed to own, not just the content, but also the process.
I was also very priviledged to be able to take some strength from Taryn’s lead and able to dive into some of the tools that our Studio 4 and Studio 5 teams at ISHCMC use to support their learners each week.
So Day 2, I introduced the premise behind agency and the overall plan and message for the day.
We revisited our OSCAR goals first as both individuals and as teams to set the tone for the day. What were our needs? What were our intentions? How could we best meet these needs over the day? What also was our preferred vehicle for learning? For ourselves and for our team?
Once the intentions for the day had been set, I introduced my learners to the MOSCOW. We use this at ISHCMC to help our young learners plan their schedules and their day. The MUSTS at school, include conferencing with teachers, completing an assignment or a routine task or a skill based task.
In the workshop the only MUSTS were to network, connect, manage time and reflect and revisit their OSCAR plan.
The OSCAR and MOSCOW together supported my learners in setting their intentions for the day and providing some direction for their learning.
We then moved on to the CAR Model (Choose, Act & Reflect) . Taking time first to choose how to complete their schedules and highlighting the opportunities to learn that were available throughout the day.
The individual schedules were blank – leaving the responsibility to the learners to fill their day as THEY best needed. Including a premise that they may wish to use some of their lunch as learning time (or not) – their choice.
So how did they know what opportunities and who was available and when?
We created a large Schedule planner which summarised the learning opportunities of the day. On the schedule included opportunities to skype with experts around the region, opportunities to have experts on campus pop in and chat, opportunities to read, to chat as a team, to visit learning spaces, to unconference.
As well as having a paper schedule, we also had a soft-copy available for those that preferred the ‘tech-path’.
As we had also taken time to identify the expertise in the room, some of our learners had also volunteered to run a session or an unconference during the day to share their school’s journey and highlights.
As I approached these brave souls ( who I thank profusely) to present, I highlighted to them that THEIR learning and THEIR schedule took priority. However, once they had planned their learning for the day, then to please find a 30 minute slot that they were free to present / chat on to the master schedules so others could learn from them.
I also made sure that I was available for unconferences, for more formal chats throughout the day. I scheduled myself every 30 minutes so that if time ran over this would not impact others and also gave me a chance to have regular check-ins and monitor the learning and learners needs during the day. However, I left the choice open to learners as to what they wanted to chat about. They indicated their wishes on the master schedule so that others, also interested, could also join in.
To ensure we had enough space, technology, time for learning, I also had learners indicate what sessions they were interested in attending so we could have an overview of the learning thoughout the day.
Once set up, we moved formally into the “ACT” part of the CAR cycle.
Standing back and overviewing the day there was a buzz of learning eveywhere. All learners were engaged, connecting, learning, as they needed. There was a steady flow of people in break-out spaces and in our main learning area. There were discussions, interactions, and sharing – some choosing to have team chats, others taking time to quietly read and reflect.
As an added bonus, at the Regional workshop we had two Building for the Future workshops side-by-side. The other workshop leader (Kate O’Connell) and I had been collaborating throughout, but her learners were a different group of learners and mostly from candidate schools. Kate was also brave enough to jump in with two feet and join us on this journey of agency.
However, understanding the needs of her learners, Kate went a slightly different path. Her learners had full choice of
- staying with her for the day and following the planned schedule
- attending the sessions on offer in our room.
- OR a combination of both.
I thought this was brilliant – a true reflection on how important it was to understand your learners and also provide opportunities for agency. Kate also shared her schedule with our learners – so there was now DOUBLE opportunities to learn and choices available.
I am so greatful for the generosity of the educators that volunteered their time and expertise to support our learners, both by Skype and in person.
Thank you all for your time and professional generosity.
- Kathy Saville – In person – Revisiting Motifs and New Standards & Practices
- Marcia Behrenbruch ( Reshaping Schools) by Skype – Victoria Standards & the PYP
- Stephanie Thompson (@traintheteacher) by Skype – Student Leadership & Exhibition to Expedition
- Vandana Parashar – By Skype (@vandysays) – Developing a learning community
- Yuni Santosa – By Skype (@YuniSantosa) – Flexible Units
- Tamarisk Low – (@TamariskNZ) by Skype – Honoring Agency in younger children
- Madison Cooper (@maddicooper27) – in person – Play & 3-6 Year olds
- Helen Morchel – In person – General Q&A PYP- E.
- Kate Mancarella – @klmanc) By Skype – Leading change, Creating own planner
- Kate O’Connell – (@innovatecreater) – in person – Leading a candidate school
- Monita Sen – ( @Monitasen) – By Skype – Q&A for Candidate Schools
The end of Day 2 and Day 3 of the workshop – moved into the final phase of the CAR Model and REFLECT.
Day 3, Session 1: We took time to pause and reflect and share our learning with each other, revisit our action plans, to plan next steps for ourselves and our schools and to also reflect how this model of agency could be adapted within our schools for all our learning community.
We centred our conversations and learning around our ‘So What?” and our action question “How might YOU re-envision the PYP at YOUR school?”
For Day 3, Session 2 we considered our educators on our teaching staff – how well did we know our staff? What were their strengths and areas to develop? How could we support them through the PYP Enhancements?
We reviewed the new IB Teacher capabilities . How could they support our educators? Rather than using the individual personas introduced to the new workshops, we explored our teams through the concept of personas – each table group developing a persona of a ‘team’ that may need support as they moved forward in their PYP journeys.
For Session 3, we turned towards ourselves as leaders – From our new understandings and connections we reflected on our Leadership Capabilities and how we, as leaders, could best support our school communities?
Honouring the concept of “assessment capable learners” we used the Gradual Increase of Independence (GII) and the graphics developed by @OrenjiButa to reflect on our own strengths as leaders.
Overall, the 3-day workshop was designed through the inquiry cycle, the research cycle and design thinking model.
We did not quite get to developing protypes as such, but as a group we definitely took time to develop new ideas and to share these with each other and use the ladder of feedback to tweak these ideas and take them further.
From this experience, what did I learn as a learner and a facilitator?
- Build a Professional Learning Network
- There is no way this would have been as successful is it had not been for the generosity of educators worldwide – both in person and through Skype. Thank you again to those who gave up their time to share their expertise.
- Be honest with your learners
- Vunerability is a strength – so share your vunerability with your learners, and acknowledge the fact that you are not the expert on everything and that there is expertise all around us.
- Respect your learners
- Your learners and their needs MUST come before anything else. It is their learning and their time to be honoured and respected.
- Trust in yourself and your instincts and be brave
- I knew deep down this model was the best way forward to respect the needs of my adult learners and all I had to do was trust in myself, the process and the WHY behind why this model was best for them and their learning.
Anf finally – have a go. If you don’t try you will never know. But with that, fail fast – and be prepared to adapt when things don’t work out as planned. Your role as a facilititator is to be responsive and provide resources – whatever they may be.
But – have a go – because when you do – you never know when and where the magic might happen.
To wrap up, a couple of thank yous:
Thank you to Taryn for being braver than all of us and leading the way with this model for professional development.