Every night a read a research article or a book chapter that pertains to my dissertation study. I’m working hard to narrow down to one question. My previous topic, on public school gifted programming, no longer felt like something that fit where I’m at today. Nor did it feel like something relevant to making change in education. I knew when I tossed around the idea of changing, I’d be picking something in creativity. This, along with some timely coincidences in professional development, led me down the path of the Maker Movement. I already know making is awesome. But what I really want to know is how to help teachers find their inner maker.
“I’m not creative,” is something we hear often in schools. Teachers, especially in public school, have had the creativity squeezed out of them like water from a sponge. Every. Last. Drop. Scripts and guides have replaced free thinking and open inquiry. Teacher’s ideas now must take a back seat to something someone in another location, who probably doesn’t even work with kids, wrote.
Last school year, we had a professional development day. Topics like jewelry making, photography, city history, and more were offered. Every teacher was encouraged to sign up. You didn’t have to be the “art teacher” to take jewelry. Nobody said you needed to be the social studies teacher to take the history class. It was purely being a learner and growing.
So as I get deeper into this topic, I am asking myself many questions.
- What if PD stood for play date?
- What if the passion for learning was supported more often?
- When it comes to the Maker Movement, how do we provide the best kind of professional development for teachers to explore these new tools?
- How do we differentiate tech PD?
I don’t believe in badges for PD, but I think if PD were more fun, it would be better than a badge. Because it would relight the fire that helped make us all want to teach in the first place. And if we really believe in the benefits of student driven learning, then shouldn’t our PD match that model? Learner driven. Whether you ‘re a teacher or a student, you’re a learner.
I’m sure I’ve just barely dug past the topsoil, but I’m about to break through some rock to nail this topic down. If we can help teachers see themselves as learners, embrace making, take risks, and find the joy in learning, we’ll change the classroom environment.
Or I could just keep delivering that PowerPoint lecture…
“Bueller, Bueller… Anyone, anyone?”
I think I’ll take my chances with the research.