Monday, March 16, 2015

Walk the Walk

Have you ever sat in a professional learning experience and thought, What is happening right now? Is this what was planned? Did the facilitator get mugged for his flash drive with the real PD on it? Those were the thoughts going through my head today.

Without naming names of organizations, the leadership team at my workplace was asked to attend a 7-hour session that was supposed to foster consideration of our vision and coherence as an agency. It ended up being mostly about engagement and profound learning, which is also a great topic, though not what I was expecting. Honestly, I would be totally down for learning more about engagement and profound learning. The trouble was no one in the room experience either of those things today. We sat. We listened. We listened some more. I requested a moment to process some of our thoughts with a neighbor. Then we sat and listened some more. It was the most unengaging "training" on engagement.

Now, professional development is the primary part of my job. Developing and facilitating professional learning is what I do. Admittedly, I'm still learning about this role, but there's one thing I know for sure. You've got to "walk the walk." If you're going to talk about engagement, you better engage people.


  1. Here here!! We recently went to a PD that was a LOT of talk. I think this guy walks his walk, but it was a lot of talk and little or no engagement. He is definitely a salesman, but I feel like teaching to teachers was not something he had planned. The "fill in the blank active notes" were predictable, there was no practicing this new technique, and when asked, the presenter said, well you just go out and practice on your own! uhmm... okay, but what if I'm wrong? What if I need help? It was good information I think, just oddly presented.

    1. Yeah, that's how I felt. Good information today; I took lots of notes and debriefed with colleagues afterward. But definitely an odd way to present the ideas.

  2. When I participate in PD like this I am always reminded that my students feel the same way. It is almost good sometimes just to remember what not to be.

  3. You have to 'walk the walk' for anything to be authentic to those around you. As you and Morgan said, it was good information. A good reminder that the WAY in which we present things matters, not just the content.

  4. Indeed, Erin. What's best for the learners in the room? Good thinking here. I also like how you say "admittedly I'm still learning" and I think, aren't we all? I don't think learning is ever finished.

  5. True! True! It takes time and care and thought to plan well for adult learners....