Pete Rodrigues’s recent post on building capacity inspired me to comment. As is often the case, my thinking didn’t cease with the posting of the comment.
Here’s the comment:
I’ve started wondering about the different approaches to determining the topics of PD.
I get that the current model runs on the idea of either running sessions on the newest fad or those areas of need identified within the educational setting.
What about this? What if you went to your teachers and said, “I’ll give you an hour to develop a PD session around something about which you’re passionate.”
Of course, they’d have to keep in mind the need for differentiation.
Still, think of the untapped energy that could come from such a question.
I haven’t stopped thinking about that energy.
What if, for an hour, your school’s art teacher led a lesson on painting, your choir teacher took an hour to teach the importance of harmony, your anatomy teacher helped the faculty through a dissection.
This wouldn’t be teaching about teaching, but actually teaching. Literally teachers as students.
This need not be limited to classroom passions. If an algebra teacher wants to teach on the beauties of pop music or social activism or Chopin, so be it.
Pete’s reply raises the important factors of culture shift and compensation. I see them as difficulties, but not impossible ones.
Start small with lunch groups. PD leaders can model by switching up and teaching a session on what they’re passionate about. Ask students to model and their passions around video games or texting or reading or music or sports or whatever those crazy kids are doing these days.
More than requiring a culture shift, I’m thinking passion-based PD would act as a catalyst for a culture shift.