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Building a Learning Culture

Professional development manifests itself in many ways online and in person. It takes place through conversations, classes, Twitter chats, workshops, blogging, book studies, challenges, team meetings, etc.
Leadership Day 2013 Image by Scott McLeod

Model what you want to see

Sometimes the best professional development comes informally through the behaviors of others, influencing how I think and what I think about.

I learn so much from my children. We have fabulous conversations about life, they share new perspectives and creative solutions with me. They also teach me how to be a better person through their inquiries and their behaviors.

I do my best to be a good model for them, but some of their behaviors are ones I'd like to see change, but no matter how much we talk about it, they continue with the same behaviors. That's when it dawns on me, they are behaving the way we the parents are behaving. So, if I want their behaviors to change, it means my behaviors have to change.

This same principle of modeling what you want to see in others applies to other settings such as the online community, the classroom, the school building, and the district office.

I'm fortunate to be surrounded by those who model what they want to see. For example, a learning culture is strong in our district, and it shows in our behaviors.

In the past two weeks, I've been privy to these leaders stepping forward as learners to model what they want to see:
  • CCJH Principal, Courtney Castelhano, decided to learn several new tech tools, including blogging, for the purpose of modeling for her staff how technology can push beyond the four walls of the classroom
  • FPES Principal, Brenda Farris, encourages a blogging community at her campus, and learns along with them through her own blog
  • SMES Principal, Heather Wallace, and CCJH Principal, Courtney Castelhano, brainstorm ways to promote collaboration between our sixth grades at the elementary school and seventh grades at CCJH via a STEM Blog
  • Tech Director, Jon Castelhano, inspires me with his forward thinking and solutions that are outside the box
  • I received an email to several people about an amazing blog that Common Core Coach, Jodi Walker, wanted to share with others--sharing her learning from her newly established PLN
  • CCJH Math Teacher, Tina Jada, steps forward to establish an after school STEM club based on gaming and programming, new to Jada, and an idea she grew at ISTE13

Building PLN

I also have the privilege of learning with my PLN, one that has mainly been built through the Edublogs Teacher Challenges, and keeps growing. Great amounts of learning comes from my PLN through:
Final thoughts

Learning takes place daily when your mind is open to it. Learning is not something that needs a workshop or a class for it to occur.

It's important to create learning communities and networks with the people next door as well as those across the globe. While some communities grow faster than others, there's always a starting place,  always room for growth, and it starts with modeling what you want to see.
  • How do you influence others to be learners and to challenge themselves to grow?
  • Who do you learn with? When do you learn? What do you learn about?
  • How do you share your learning with others?
This post was written for Leadership Day, a challenge from Scott McLeod.

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