Professional Learning during Distance Learning

 

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

 

KDSL Global asked colleagues from around the Middle East region, how can educators continue to learn and grow as professionals during distance learning? Below are some of those responses.

 

“Although distance learning is in full swing, I don’t think educators have to stop their own development due to face to face limitations. I have pointed educators in the direction of online coursework/certifications (such as Dyslexia Association), virtual conferences that offer interactive components (EdWeek), and taking advantage of mentoring/ coaching sessions to help develop new skills.”

Selina Collins
Doha College
Qatar

 

“Educators are facing a real challenge at this time. Some are swimming in uncharted waters, while others are virtually drowning. I believe that one of the best ways to keep on top of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at this moment is to connect with a peer or a group of peers and form small support groups. In these groups, teachers should draw on each other’s strengths, learn from their colleagues’ expertise and lean on each other for moral and professional support. This is not the time to be going at it alone. We need each other for strength and support.”

Leisa Grace Wilson
Teach Middle East Magazine
United Arab Emirates

 

“Professional learning should never be confined to learning done in the vacuum of one’s area of specialization. That said, during this unprecedented global pandemic, educators must think beyond the norm of attending a webinar here or there and focus more on building relationships and interest groups. In so doing, different aspects of life can be addressed; example, online professional learning groups in which one can schedule ongoing learning of subjects of interest, collaborate to take action for a cause or interest or even host small group discussions about shared books, blogs or other resources. We can learn great things from each other if we have structured time and conversations. These opportunities I believe, are more authentic avenues for professional development, differentiated professional development and learning as opposed to random webinars you might not even be interested in.

 

On another note, educators who haven’t yet stepped out of professional learning within their comfort zone – area of expertise- should challenge themselves and do so. Functioning and leading effectively in this era of virtual life demands skills beyond areas of expertise. Leading studies of self-paced short courses, or video/blog/book study groups regarding 21st Century learning skills and soft skills should be prioritized – both for the benefit of students and educators alike. These skills, such as adaptability, taking initiatives, analytical thinking, are needed now more than ever to open up the opportunities for the use of our expert skillsets.”

 

Sania Green-Reynolds
Director Lit Education LLC
United Arab Emirates

 

Take advantage of free online courses, such as the one listed below.

Learn new online learning tools, such as:

  • Quizlet
  • Kahoot
  • Ed Puzzle
  • Screencastify
  • There are thousands!

Join social media groups or follow hashtags to learn from peers.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Art Teacher PD Resources

 

Heather Meinen
Riffa Views International School
Bahrain

 

 

KDSL Global interviews Nicole Fedio of Mathematique

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KDSL Global recently had an opportunity to interview Nicole Fedio, one of our math consultants based in Saudi Arabia. She recently collaborated with our company in Egypt and was a presenter at the Middle East Maths Teachers Conference in Dubai.

Tell us about Mathematique.

Mathematique is a boutique mathematics consulting business. When I think of it, an image immediately pops into my head. It’s a Venn Diagram that first appeared in the Toronto Star in 2016 (see graphic below). Mathematique sits firmly in the center of the four overlapping circles: ‘What I love’, ‘What the world needs’, ‘What I can be paid for’, and ‘What I’m good at.’ After two decades of math teaching and math coaching experience, launching Mathematique allows me to share my deep and passionate love for exploring the teaching and learning of mathematics with others, centered by those four prompts.

What I bring to mathematics consulting is my dedication to the craft of coaching. It was after working with hundreds of teachers as a coach that I decided I wanted to venture out on my own as an independent consultant. Providing quality professional development to educators is more than just delivering content. It’s about building relationships. It’s about asking participants the right questions so they form their own understanding of the material. It’s coaching adults to answer their own questions. If we want our students to become problem solvers and good questioners, then we must first model this as educators. The mission of Mathematique is to empower educators with the mathematical expertise needed to inspire the problem solvers of the future. And my vision is to live in a world where I never hear, ‘but I can’t do math’ ever again.

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What do you say to people who say they aren’t a math person?

When people claim they can’t do math or say,  ‘but I’m not a math person’ my first response is to ask why. Too many people carry trauma from the way they were taught math in school. Too often I hear, ‘I used to like math until…’ I think one of the main issues is how narrowly we have defined what it means to ‘do math.’ As a coach, I worked at a school where I would regularly share intriguing math problem solving activities with teachers. The PE teacher loved solving them. Her solutions were unique and showed a complex level of understanding of the problems. Without fail, after finding a solution she would say, ‘but I’m not a maths person. I didn’t take maths past grade 10.’’ In her mind, maths was complicated formulas, algorithms, and something that she still could not access. It was not problem solving, finding patterns, or making meaning out of data. One goal I have is to expand the definition of what it means to be a ‘math person.’

 

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Three things you would share with a new math educator.

When working with new math educators, I first remind them to be kind to themselves and to give themselves some grace. Teaching is such a wonderful profession because it’s never the same day twice. And that is both a blessing and a curse. We are continually growing, learning, and evolving as educators. When I think back to some of the things I did in my first few years of teaching, I cringe and want to write blanket apology letters to all of my former students. Instead, I can reflect on what I would now do differently given the same circumstances and help others not to repeat my mistakes. Secondly, I would advise new math educators to dive into the art of questioning. Questioning is key. Asking the right questions of both their students and themselves is a pathway to growth. When a student asks a math question to which the teacher does not know the answer, consider that a great learning opportunity. It’s OK not to know and to research the question together with the student. Or, it’s perfectly fine to take the time to come back to the student later with an answer. And thirdly, find your positive math community. Surround yourself with people who are excited about the teaching and learning of mathematics and trying new things. Your community might include colleagues at your school, or it might be a virtual community online. Find the people like me who will help nurture your inner mathematician and encourage you to keep asking the necessary questions of both yourself and of your students.

 

 

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Nicole Fedio is an independent mathematics consultant at Mathematique Consulting. With two decades of experience as an educator, Nicole taught high school mathematics in Ghana, Venezuela, Guatemala, Boston, Seattle, India and China. For four years, she was the K-12 district math coach for a group of six international schools in Saudi Arabia. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics from Penn State University and a M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University. She is a National Board certified teacher.

She holds a deep and passionate love for exploring the teaching and learning of mathematics. She finds joy in helping others find their inner passion for the subject. Her vision is to live in a world where she never hears, “but I can’t do math” ever again by supporting teachers to rewrite their students’ mathematical stories. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleFedio

 

 

 

KDSL Global interviews Leisa Grace Wilson of Teach Middle East Magazine

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Leisa Grace Wilson of Teach Middle East Magazine. This is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. They offer information on a wide range of topics ranging from finance, culture, travel, leadership, school news, and more.

 

Tell us about the Teach Middle East Magazine.

Teach Middle East Magazine is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. Our vision is to equip educators with the materials and tools they need, to function optimally in and out of the classroom. We provide a space for educators to connect, find inspiration, resources and forums that are aimed at enhancing their teaching techniques, methodologies and personal development. We connect education suppliers and service providers to the people who make the buying decisions in schools.

 

What topics are you hoping to cover in the future?

The upcoming Volume 7 of Teach Middle East Magazine will continue to feature strategy filled articles, interviews and research-backed pieces for the connected educator.

 

What is your editorial style?

Teach Middle East Magazine focusses on ensuring that the articles it carries add value to educators and help them to perform optimally both inside and outside of the classroom. The magazine is divided into two sections. ‘Class Time’ and ‘After the Bell’ catering to both the professional and personal development of educators.

 

To learn more about Teach Middle East Magazine visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/

For their latest issue visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/teach-middle-east-magazine-sep-dec-2019-issue-1-volume-7/

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Leisa Grace Wilson is the Editorial Director of Teach Middle East Magazine. She has been working in education for the past twenty-two years as a teacher, Head of Department, Education Advisor and Vice-principal. Leisa Grace has worked in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. In 2014 she joined Teach Middle East Magazine, where she shares her passion for education through her writing and editing of the print and online issues of the magazine. She is also a speaker and has presented at education conferences globally.

 

 

KDSL Global interviews Allison Rodman of the Learning Loop

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Allison Rodman of The Learning Loop. Allison challenges schools and districts to examine all aspects of their learning organization and focus on the connections among culture, collaboration, and communication as levers for growth.

 

What is the importance of personalizing the learning process for educators?

We look to teachers to know their students, build strong relationships with them, and personalize learning to meet their interests, readiness, and learning preferences, yet these considerations are often neglected when designing and facilitating professional learning for educators (at all levels). This is not unique to education and is a universal challenge within adult education. However, it is perhaps most concerning in the education space where we do not model the learning principles we expect teachers and leaders to implement themselves.

Additionally, we fail to recognize that adults learn in different ways than students. There is 50 years of andragogical research providing insight in this space, but we continue to ignore critical factors such as job-embedded practice, social construction, and relevance when designing professional learning experiences. We spend millions of dollars as schools, districts, and businesses to build human capital, but the engagements, for the most part, are designed and facilitated poorly.

 

 

How do your personalized professional learning services focus on improving culture?

I partner with schools, district, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to move beyond planning professional learning sessions as “events,” but instead, sustained “experiences” for intentional and targeted collaboration and growth. We look to create true learning organizations rather than simply one-time, sit-and-get workshops. Together, we examine a multitude of data points, including student achievement and growth data, observation and evaluation data, and staff needs assessments (as well as other metrics specific to each partner). We explore a continuum of learner agency and look for opportunities to elevate learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery. In this way, learning experiences become not only purposeful and personalized, but also begin to shift the paradigm of learning within the organization as a whole in organic and authentic ways.

 

 

Tell us about your book “Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice.”

The book provides district and school administrators with a roadmap for transforming existing professional development programs into more effective and innovative learning experiences that elevate onsite expertise while still aligning with school and district priorities. It is a step-by-step guide for diagnosing, planning, executing, evaluating, and refining teachers’ professional learning. Supported by research and informed by the experiences of educators across the United States, the book distills best practices for adult learning into clear advice and ready-to-use tools.

 

For more information please visit http://www.thelearningloop.com.

 

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Allison Rodman is an educational consultant who provides professional learning services to districts, schools, and educational nonprofit organizations.

Allison is deeply committed to connecting educators together and sharing resources to personalize the learning process for all (both students and the educators who support them – at every level of the system).

The goal of her work is to support the whole child and whole educator to view learning as an ongoing experience and not an endpoint. This process includes learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery.