The breakout sessions were animated and the feedback ranged from rolling out nation-wide professional learning to whole-school culture change. You can find the key points that were discussed below.

What are the key ingredients for teacher professional learning in the 21st century? 

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John Hurley, H2 Learning (Event MC), Dr. Michael Hallissy, H2 Learning (Panelist).
  • Inspire imagination.
  • CPD should be pragmatic, relevant, cohesive.
  • There’s an issue regarding collaboration – there’s not enough of it and it’s one of the most-needed element of professional learning in the 21st century.
  • learning is constant (every day is a school day).
  • As a teacher, joint-reflection/ group reflection on your practice is very important.
  • Have to overcome the consistent challenges that never seem to have changed over the past two decades.
  • Secure investment in teachers- time investment and financial investment.
  • it’s very hard to work with people who have differing levels/types of knowledge, from different teaching backgrounds (post-primary, further education, higher ed etc.)
  • Functional resources (WiFi etc.).
  • CPD should nearly be disruptive in order to inspire.
  • Maybe professional learning should be rolled out nationally.

 

What can be done to promote greater teacher participation and engagement in online professional learning?

  • Tap into teacher needs, especially teachers working in remote areas looking for support. Compare teaching practices. Further Education face-to-face meetings. Very focused themes but underlining teaching and learning is the core.
  • Making personal contact.
  • Keep it simple!
  • Need early adopters. Encourage others to take part.
  • Quality of the teacher. Very important.
  • Online Twitter network. #edchat.ie. Teach Meets for face-to-face. Preparation and getting familiar.
  • Go global first. Try not to change initial teaching and learning process.
  • In webinar. Invite to talk or ask opinions of participants.
  • Giving teachers an opportunity to observe others in their classroom. Seeing is believing. Going to help you.
  • Encouraging people to move from being spectators to participants.
  • Google group. Sharing science. Exclusive feel not intended. Missing those who need it most. Support, encouragement and provision from school management.

 

Teacher professional learning for 21st century
This group deliberates on what are the key ingredients for professional learning in the 1st century.

How can professional learning be sustained beyond fixed timelines?

  • Badging could be counter-productive as the motivator is extrinsic as opposed to bringing the intrinsic value to the fore.
  • Culture of compliance with mandatory professional development as opposed to the culture in Ireland and the UK where people engage willingly.
  • Focus on the model, on the approach.
  • Must be a reason for the learning to continue.
  • Not a lone experience.
  • Important to note that we are looking at professional learning as opposed to professional development.
  • Learning is tacit.
  • Moving from how to why – the kernel is the why- questioning the values and the beliefs
  • Teaching teams being student centric.
  • iScoil operates in an interesting space where the teachers’ roles are more interdependent – this does have its pros and cons.
  • Culture of compliance with mandatory professional development as opposed to the culture in Ireland and the UK where people engage willingly.
  • Good professional learning should challenge you and cause a dissonance.
  • Professional learning is a mindset rather than a skillset.
  • Disconnect between teaching and learning – should not be distinct. In New Zealand there is one word for teaching and learning (Ako)
  • Teacher morale affected by public opinion – no culture of recognition for teachers’ work outside of school.
  • Moving from how to why. The kernel is the why; questioning the values and the beliefs.
  • Learning distributed among a profession.
  • Important to note we are looking at professional learning as opposed to profession development.
  • Information-sharing.

 

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Panelists: L-R, Prof. Linda la Velle, Plymouth University, Carrie Archer, Marino College, Dr. Terry Maguire, National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Dr. Michael Hallissy, H2 Learning.

What is a good blend of online teacher professional learning?

  • Face-to-face and interactive learning.
  • Collaborate online.
  • Have an experienced tutor.
  • Engage in reflection and debate through strong/appropriate learning design.
  • Know your audience.