Starting with Stories

The How of professional development needs to consider the Who. Methods of delivery will fail if there isn’t a companion framework that addresses the important factors of consciousness, connectedness, and competence.

In my technology integration professional development experience, there have been two types of teachers: conscripts and volunteers. Conscripts have been “drafted” into the training, but would rather not be there. They are hesitant to invest too much of themselves into the task and might express their lack of self-efficacy with comments like, “I’m just not a techie” or challenge the value of the training with comments like, “When will I ever use this in the classroom.” In the very same sessions, there will be volunteers. Volunteers are willing to invest much more of themselves into the task, are more comfortable taking risks and solving problems and will think of unique ways to apply the technology with students.  What’s interesting is that a teacher can be a conscript one day and a volunteer another. What is necessary in order to make teachers into volunteers? The answer is story.

We know what stories are, but do we fully appreciate the role they play in determining how we see the world and our place in it?  David Drake puts it this way, “Stories illuminate our efforts to reclaim, retain, reframe our personal narrative. Who are we now and who do we want to be in the future.”

Can story explain why some teachers are conscripts and others volunteers? Beneath the surface elements of teacher stories lie important clues.

  • Intent – What does the teacher want? What goals are important to them and why?
  • Conflict – What are perceived dangers? What risks and obstacles are blocking the way?
  • Actions – What have teachers done in the past to overcome these obstacles and dangers?

How have you intentionally integrated teachers’ stories into digital learning professional development?  Tweet your answer to …

Starting with Story (your answer) #beyondtools

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