What I read about this week once again confirms the need for a change in traditional PL. It highlights that PL should be ongoing, be student-focused, align with school goals, and build working relationships (Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andre, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009). Something else that I believe is important for learning in general is taking chances. The video, Innovation That Sticks Case Study- OCSB: Rick Taking shows what can happen when teachers and students are encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them (Canadian Education Association, 2016).
One of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes and being uncomfortable. This is what it means to have a growth mindset. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable just means that people should embrace the possibility of failure and new things. If teachers are collaborating on new and scary ideas, that fear is more manageable because they are no longer alone. This support can and should also come from the students. I often adjust my plans based on student feedback because they are the focus. I am not teaching the curriculum for myself; I am doing it for them. Something one of the teachers in the video says that stuck with me is to get excited about what students share (Canadian Education Association, 2016). They have amazing ideas that are too often shoved aside for the sake of curriculum repetition. This is something I personally hope to work on this year. I always ask for feedback, but I’d like to actively listen during lessons so I can make adjustments for that moment instead of just making the adjustments for next time.
Another point made in the video that I absolutely love is that teachers need to model the need for mistakes. Sure, we are supposed to be the experts, but we still make mistakes. What kind of lifelong learners would we be if we tried to make students think we are perfect? Mistakes are often frustrating, but there is no better way to learn for next time. If my kids see me make a mistake, be excited about what I learned from it, and then fix it they can also learn that it is a good thing when it comes to their learning.
So many students struggle with the idea that they might not always get what they want. They might lose that big state championship game, or trip up the steps for a solo performance, or get rejected from their top choice school, but if they can learn that defeat is a tough but great part of life too then they are that much closer to being successful. I love sports, specifically basketball, and when I think about failure I think of the Michael Jordan quote: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” If I can get my students to live by this I know they will succeed too.
Canadian Education Association. (2016, May 19). Innovation that sticks case study- OCSB: risk taking [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAMcjUzdVnE&feature=youtu.be
Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the U.S. and Abroad. Technical Report. National Staff Development Council. Retrieved from