Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Honoring Learning

As connected educators, we often gather together in various professional development forums to discuss universal topics. Collegial circles, Twitter conversations, edcamps, voxers, Google hangouts, Skype, and Google docs are some of the platforms used to grow learning. It is through these different forms of professional development that we effectively connect with one another, despite the busyness of our personal and professional lives. 
We connect, share, and grow as connected educators in cultures of trust where we honor the learning that evolves.
For more than a decade, thought leaders like Richard DuFour have discussed the importance of professional learning communities (PLCs) as a way to "achieve a collective purpose of learning for all." Across the nation, professional learning communities grew to meet the needs of educators. From schools to districts to state and global Twitter forums, educators are now engaged in asynchronous professional development beyond traditional PD opportunities. They are part of growing professional learning networks (PLNs) involved in intellectual labor to further their base of knowledge. Connections are made in active learning spaces and friendships cemented asynchronously beyond the school day and school week.

Yesterday, I was fortunate to be involved with a couple of different forms of professional development. During the day, I facilitated a traditional form of PD on transforming writing lives. Through a series of collaborative protocols and conversations I led a group of engaged K-12 educators to create a culture of trust leading to the development of a small PLN. Eduinspirations were designed and inspiration flowed. 

This program was followed by a step back in time where I attended an annual fall gathering at the district from which I retired as an administrator. I am happy to say that the Reflective Pathway Collegial Circle that I created in June 2003 with the support of my administrative team and committed educators is still thriving. The asynchronous professional development program now under the leadership of Lisa Granieri and her team of facilitators is a credit to the resiliency of learners who believe in collaborative learning. 

Yesterday's theme for the annual fall gathering was gratitude, a fitting one for November. Some facts on gratitude from the University of Pennsylvania shared by Lisa are important thoughts for all educators at this busy time of year.
  • When participants delivered a heartfelt thank you letter they actual felt happier for a full month after.
  • Writing down three positive events each for a week kept happiness levels high for up to six months.
In her address, Lisa further noted that educators deserve gratitude and appreciation.  
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. ~William Arthur Ward
We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick
Gratitude is Lisa's new attitude, as it is for so many connected educators who are grateful for the learning they share with each other. I raise my glass to the Reflective Pathway for continuing a journey of hopeful trust in the benefits of collaborative learning. 

If inclined, join the Twitter initiative to celebrate November 9-15 as Gratitude Week. You may also be interested in marking tweets with the hashtag #gratitude when thanking colleagues for notifications or mentions. 

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