Some thoughts about self-directed professional learning

First off, I have to say that the irony of completing of this “first” post on the subject of self-directed professional learning, exactly one year after promising myself that I would begin to reflect in writing as part of my own self-directed professional learning is absolutely not lost on me. Alas, here we are. Well into 2016, and I’m back with a renewed commitment to myself and my own learning.

This school year, many of the teachers who I work with have reported that they’ve sought more opportunities than usual to focus their professional learning on self-directed pursuits. While work action and contract negotiations have contributed to fewer PD sessions offered by school boards, I’m not convinced that can be cited as the sole reason for the uptick in preference for self-directed professional learning. Much has been written on current trends in teacher professional learning, but I especially like how EdSurge has visually represented it.

I’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from colleagues that they are finding engaging in self-directed professional learning and expanding their own networks to be particularly helpful in answering their questions and transforming their classroom practice to meet student needs as well as their own learning goals – more so than system-PD ever has. So what does this mean for me? I too wax poetic about the learning and satisfaction I get from so-called new-age, networked professional learning, so am I talking myself out of my own job as a professional learning leader in my district?

I’ve been trying to digest it and think about how system- or Ministry PD fits into the equation. How do self-directed and system-led PD come together to form a professional learning picture that works for teachers?

More to come as I think on and explore this subject…

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