Professional Learning Beyond BordersNancy Hinds, Past-President Learning Forward BC
When commitment replaces resistance and passion steps in for apathy, powerful professional learning is the result – even when language and cultural differences might get in the way! On my return recently to Costa Rica and Honduras to facilitate experiential learning and adult education strategies with teacher leaders, I was reminded of my beginning in staff development and of the many who mentored my development.
Many years later, the cycle of continuous learning is alive across borders. Through a partnership between the BCTF’s International Solidarity program, Co-Development Canada Non-profit and teacher unions in Central America, facilitation capacity is being built from the ground up. The enthusiasm within the groups was positively infectious. Alison Davies (New Teacher Mentoring Project Co-ordinator) and I, co-facilitated two – day training sessions designed around the best in professional learning in any language, with the help of a simultaneous Spanish-English translator, Kirsten Daub, and a Spanish version of BCTF’s classic Workshop on Workshop (WOW) manual.
Elements included: grounding in Lipton and Wellman’s Adult Learning Model, reflection and dialogue, learning partners, processing the experiences, application to ‘real issues and problems’, designing workshops in collaborative teams, facilitator self – assessment and appreciative feedback amid active engagement in purposeful strategies. All of this was embedded within the context of on-going work and vision of the host team and coordinator, and so their work continues when we return home.
Whether in our own backyard or across thousands of miles, a new generation of professional developers is ready for similar opportunities where facilitation can be modeled to encourage reciprocal professional learning! We returned with a deeper understanding of their unique challenges and a collective commitment to
Contact: Nancy Hinds, firstname.lastname@example.org