One of the aspects that excited me about teaching in a Primary Years Programme school is an ongoing commitment to professional development of teachers.
An integral part of PD for PYP teachers is attending a workshop. The workshop is held over several days there’s a ‘getting started’ workshop as well as one of different aspects of the PYP as well as teaching and learning.
So far I have experienced two PYP workshops. While I have enjoyed learning more about the PYP and making contacts with other PYP teachers, there were some parts of the workshops I attended that I think could be better.
Not releasing the names of workshop leaders until after registration – When I’m choosing PD I want to know who as much as what. I want to follow the workshop leader on social media and find links to their thinking.
More authentic experiences – Why not have part of the workshop be an in-school observation? If teachers can access content online, surely a richer workshop would involve coming together to see PYP ideas in action with real kids for at least part of the time? Even having time to ‘have a nose around’ the school hosting (if it is in a school) is invaluable learning particularly to those teachers new to the programme.
Sitting inside the same room all day – If the only time I get to leave the room is lunch, that’s a long three days. Get me out of the seminar room and walking around. I need to be up and active just as much as the kids.
Limited effective use of technology to support learning – Instead of ICT/digital citizenship being additional workshops, I’d argue all workshops should be effectively integrating ICT.
Not being able to share pictures of slides online – very few conferences tell me at the start not post pictures online. Open sharing of resources should be the default, not the exception. I come to workshops for collaboration, not content.
Showing old content – the videos and snippits my presenters used as provocations during workshops were almost always ones I had already seen online earlier. Some of the content was several years old – that’s ancient internet terms.
What have you enjoyed about PYP workshops?
What do you think could make PYP workshops?
Feedback to feedforward is always great and I have just finished leading a PYP workshop and am currently working on my reflections to try and improve my own teaching and the experience of the learners in the sessions.
My thoughts in response to yours:
Not releasing the names of workshop leaders until after registration – Agree – this would definitely help in some cases, but IB do have a quality control and all of the IBEN work hard to ensure the best possible experience.
More authentic experiences – Last week I was venue manager for 26 workshops ( 650 participants) so having in-school observations would not have been possible, this week, the regional was smaller, but the only way the school could host was on holidays.
However, I have begun over the past 2 / 3 workshops I’ve led to have the participants engage in their own inquiries as small groups and construct their own meaning through authentic questions and tensions. I loved watching the magic happen and was reminded as to how many creative and wonderful educators we have and also how many ways we can present our learning…(going to borrow a couple!)
Also the knowledge and experience gained should be transferred to your own context which may not suit all.
As far as I am aware all PYP schools have an open door policy to to other PYP educators, so maybe ask to visit other schools to see how they work at other times.
Sitting inside the same room all day – As above – the authentic inquiry can include inquiry walks and learning outside the classroom – I am seeing more and more of this – o much fun to watch the action happening. Recently I had a group head to the park to film their presentation, and another use all the art pieces in the environment as part of their presentation and learning.
Limited effective use of technology to support learning – Agree ICT should be integrated – but still digital citizenship needs a focus in order to develop consistent language and understanding. It is an ever changing area that needs constant consideration.
Not being able to share pictures of slides online – I think this depends on the slides. One or 2 are OK, not those with student photos on them is a definite no-no as we do not have full permission to share. Also if all participants shared slides – then you’d end up with the problem below (repeated and old content) – pictures of T work around the classroom is usually what is shared.
Also academic honesty – I know the slides I construct are sometimes borrowed from others – so I cite and give credit – this may not always be the practice.
Showing old content – some are oldies and goodies – depends on the focus – Ken Robinson has been viewed and viewed – but watch and listen with a different lens and have the follow up discussion – this can be a very rich sharing and learning experience – whether or not I’ve viewed before.
I love the flower poem, I love Confucius, and I know others who love the fairy scientist and other gems…
I love being both sides of the workshop – and learn so much no matter whether I am participating or facilitating. MY final message to my participants yesterday was to keep challenging, keep questioning and keep pushing to make both ourselves and others better…..so bravo to you!
Keep pushing!!! Tx