Sunday, May 1, 2016

Broadening our horizons - the effects of attending a workshop at a conference

View of the Bosphorus from the CEESA 2016 conference venue. 

I am extremely fortunate to be a staff member at a school that values professional development in many forms. Our school encourages us to work in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), to attend city wide Network meetings such as LTEN or the Istanbul Librarians' Network, to go to IB trainings and attend conferences. 

While at the CEESA conference in March here in Istanbul I attended a workshop about Collaboration. Collaboration, Cooperation and Collegiality: Strategies for school leaders to ensure planning for learning leads to increased student growth and achievement by Michael Palmer I almost didn't go - I am not a school administrator or leader. I am so glad that I did go. The workshop was described as an opportunity to explore the differences between collaboration, cooperation and collegiality and help participants develop an understanding of the ways in which their schools can increase collaborative capacity to support student learning. 

Actually what I learned was what can happen when someone attends a workshop at a conference. Michael Palmer had attended the last CEESA conference held in Istanbul - in 2008 I think it was. He gave a workshop on the PYP exhibition and only one person attended his session. This was mostly because the teachers at IICS were presenting about Exhibition at the same time and many people attended their workshop. Fortunately the workshop was run twice and Michael was able to attend the second run through himself. What he saw was a way to run the Exhibition and a way to plan Units of Inquiry in the PYP that really inspired him. He visited the school later that year and began to implement changes to the way Units were planned in his own school. Then he began to explore collaboration and ways to collaborate in a school setting - thus the new workshop and sharing his learning with us this year.

I have found that as I attend conference workshops I return to school willing to try out the ideas that were presented. We now have the Battle of the Books - after I attended a conference workshop about BOB at the ECIS librarians conference September 2014. Our school is working on developing a culture of independent reading using some of the ideas about reading journals shared at a CEESA conference workshop in Prague in 2013. Conference workshops can lead to marvellous actions within schools.

In a few weeks time our library team will be working with our guidance counsellor with all our classes over one week to try out some ideas presented at a workshop with the title Meeting the Social-Emotional Needs of Elementary School Students through Library and Counseling Collaboration by Rebecca Battistoni and Laura Giosh-Markov. This workshop was attended by two members of our library team and our Guidance Counsellor. While we won't be launching into the year long collaboration that Rebecca and Laura had we will be giving their ideas of adding a social-emotional component to our library lessons for that week.

So thank you to all my wonderful colleagues who present workshops and conferences. In doing so you lift our gaze to new horizons and enrich the teaching and learning in so many schools.

Another view of the Bosphorus.