If Professional Development doesn't change what happens in the classroom for students, take it personally. Then take action.
This July, my teachers and I had the opportunity to attend an amazing professional learning with Future Design School. The amazing Les McBeth and team shared the Design Thinking Process with us and took us from ideas to application (solutions). As a building administrator, I wondered how this amazing learning would transfer over to our children and school.
The thought occurred to me for a few reasons. First: The learning was occurring during the summer; would teachers have a powerful enough experience in July to set the wheels in motion for September? Second, I know that this was the type of learning experience I wanted to model for teachers. We had two days to explore this topic with the Future Design School and it was incredible.
But would I be able to transfer the concept of Design Thinking to my staff in a 2 hour timeframe? I tried. I chose a problem that was relevant to us: How might we redesign our library space to become more of a hub of the school? This got us slightly immersed into the Design Thinking approach (and some pretty great ideas came forward); but would it be enough to change the learning outcomes for students?
Then something amazing happened. I walked into a classroom and they were using an activity called Crazy Eights. This was an activity designed to iterate ideas and a teacher was using it! The activity got students to think beyond their first and initial ideas. Additionally, when their first idea didn't work, they have ways to move forward. So, from the professional development that happened in July, the learning opportunities for our students were, indeed, different in September. I'm going to count that as a win.