Considering the Who in Professional Development

Effective teaching in the 21st Century is a complex endeavor. Not only are teachers expected to thoroughly understand subject area content, artfully structure classroom (and virtual) learning, and skillfully integrate technology, but also foster growth in higher order thinking skills such as creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. Few of us are “ready-made” to meet all of these expectations at the highest of levels which means that most of us will need to grow.

This week I attended a conference organized around leading change in a 1:1 learning environment. It was inspiring to learn of school systems that are making digital learning a priority. One component of this conference was teacher professional development. The speaker anchored teacher development around the SAMR model of technology integration and presented steps teachers take toward implementing higher levels of this model.

The SAMR model, along with the TPCK model, provide useful frameworks for the How of digital learning professional development. What needs to be considered along with the How is the Who. The best How model will fail if there isn’t a companion Who framework that addresses the important factors of consciousness, connectedness, and competence.

The Evocative Coaching framework considers these factors in light of what is known about adult learners. We are independent and self-directed. We build new learning around what we already know and can do well; yet welcome and need facilitation (not direction), feedback (not evaluation), and support (not judgement) to grow. What we learn needs to be relevant and immediately applicable to our current needs.

The evocative model provides a framework that embraces adult learning: Story, Empathy, Inquiry, Design (SEID). The first two steps of the evocative model address the Who of professional development.

All growth begins with a story. Our stories reflect the ways we are making sense of our experiences. They are attempts to understand, value, and shape our experiences. Stories are crucial to any professional or personal growth.

Empathy is our respectful, no-fault understanding and appreciation of someone else’s story. When we feel that our stories are appreciated and accepted, we are ready and willing to take the risk to move forward and grow.

Story and empathy create the climate for growth and development that are addressed in the inquiry and design steps of evocative coaching.

So how do you consider the Who? Tweet your reaction using the message below.

Considering the Who (your reaction) #beyondtools

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