President’s Fall Message by Sue Elliott

Enhancing Professional Learning: The Value of a Collaborative Culture

How can we be genius makers and bring out the intelligence in others and at the same time be aware of the expertise, experience, and support that we can provide while not being absorbed in our own intelligence that can at times stifle others?”

 Recent conversations with individuals in my professional learning network have stimulated my thinking about creating and leading professional learning cultures.  One colleague shared the above quote that is being used to guide a book study of The Multiplier Effect by Liz Wiseman.  The idea of being an ‘enhancer’ rather than a ‘diminisher’ of an individual’s performance and learning is both intriguing and daunting. Reflecting on what we model, and how we operate in a group, provides much food for thought. In our practice, how do we develop a learning culture that will tap and enhance the growth of others, not diminish it?

Another conversation focused on how to augment a professional learning experience to take individuals deeper into their thinking about ‘what is learning,’ and how to enhance what occurs in the planning, assessment, and teaching process for student learning. Having a clear ‘end in mind’ and route to get there is paramount as we plan for and scaffold a learning sequence. What skills and strategies do we model and teach to enhance the learning and growth of others, rather than diminish it?

Talking with a LFBC member who is new to BC stimulated a great deal of thought about ‘the BC’ scene in regard to working with ‘data’ to inform our teaching practices and plan for professional learning. How do we work with information to create cultures of inquiry and lead groups to take collective responsibility for student success?

I am left with the thought that there are many stories of outstanding practice, yet there are also pockets where creating a culture of inquiry that exemplifies true collaboration, is a challenge. How do we create cultures where focused conversation about what student work is telling us about their learning, and the teaching that we must plan to address the gaps in learning, are the norm?

An important aspect of this issue is having a network of colleagues with whom we can learn together.  Learning Forward BC is a network of educators for whom creating cultures of professional learning is their passion.

Learning Forward BC is hosting a Session with Bruce Wellman: Creating and Leading Culture of Inquiry on Oct 4, 2013, where you can network with others and explore some of the questions posed above on.


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