As educators, our goal is to make sure that our students find ways to apply what they learn so it is much more than just “blah blah blah” and on to the next session of “blah blah blah”. Yet, often at conferences……what the listeners walk away with is blah blah blah rather than “oh, I can apply that here.”
We wander through sessions of “More Than Wordles” and “Kidspiration, the Must Have Software” and “Online Projects and You” and etc etc etc — where listeners nod their heads, smile at the ideas that are given, even maybe jot down a note or two. But that is often where it ends.
That is why — I really appreciated Kim Cofino’s blog post of today “Creating a Blogging Scope and Sequence” — http://kimcofino.com/blog/2010/11/07/creating-a-blogging-scope-and-sequence/ — because it gives a tie-in to something….and because of this tie in — there will be buy in.
A year or so ago at a CUE conference, I heard Chris Lehmann ask the audience to share what they taught. Hands were raised. People said, “I teach math” “I teach science” “I teach pe” “I teach computers” and then Chris hits them with the “Interesting — I teach students”. And you could hear the gasp in the room and then the sounds of acknowledgment — the tie in to equal the buy in. I think it would be fair to say that almost all of those attendees went home realizing they taught students — not subjects. And I believe many classrooms were different after that session.
Just recently at an inservice at a private school — after 3 hours of learning, listening, and sharing — the attendees were asked to stop — to think — and to write down some ways they were going to use what they had heard that morning. Something new to try in their classroom. Then they had to mail these to both their principal and the tech teacher. One thing we should have taken time to do was to share these out loud — we WILL do that next time.
We, as presenters, have to save time during our sessions and at the end of our sessions, for the tie-in. The examples of how what they are hearing is going to change into action.
But I feel we forget to do that………..
What if, at the end of every session — we stopped 5 minutes early and asked the audience to take out their pens/pencils, phones, computers, ipads — whatever — and write down 1 plan of action with what they have learned in the session. And then what if we asked them to share it with a person sitting next to them — and, if you are willing, invite them to either email you — or create a wiki, a wallwisher, a google doc — anything……that becomes a plan of action.
Because once they see the tie in — there will be a buy in. We see it all the time with our students — we need to see it more with our teachers.
Just my thoughts