This is post #5 for the 9x9x25 Challenge!
Traditional faculty PD is dead. Or at least it should be!
You, as faculty, have a lot going on during the academic year that makes it challenging for you to be able to attend some (or any) of the wonderful PD opportunities put on by your teaching and learning centres. The idea of a one size fits all PD schedule just doesn’t work!
Like any adult learner, faculty want what they want and they want it when they need it. Teaching and learning centres need to move toward a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’-type PD for faculty. At Cambrian, we are currently trying to conceptualize how this will work in our teaching and learning centre; we have many great ideas and are working to actualize it. Shout out to the amazing team at Cambrian’s Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub!
The image below depicts a story map for a choose your own adventure novel by the company ChooseCo. This is how we should build professional development for faculty – the starting point is different for each and every faculty member based on his or her needs; the adventure chosen will also depend on the needs and interests of each individual faculty member. This sounds like a huge task but if we want faculty to undertake professional development, we need to ensure that we are supporting their immediate needs and that varies for each and every teacher!
Our Teaching and Learning Hub started a Level-Up Challenge this fall that challenged faculty to make one small change to a lesson (or course/program) to make it more impactful for learners. Faculty must share their level up experience on our Hub blog and they will earn a Level-Up button. Many of our faculty who’ve already leveled up are asking if they can earn multiple buttons! We are currently working on a program for the winter semester that will continue to challenge our trailblazing faculty to keep trying new things!
Ideally, I’d love to see a Choose Your Own Adventure PD program that includes aspects from teaching theory and best practices, technology, open education, and other ground-breaking innovations in education. If we are able to figure out a great strategy to implement this idea, we will definitely be open to sharing it with the world! We are embracing Open Education and Open Pedagogy at our Hub.
Fundamentally, a choose your own adventure style PD will only work if you are a reflective practitioner that knows where you are in your teaching practice and where you’d like to be. You have to want to experiment and grow. You can’t be afraid of failure – sometimes you fail the first time you try new things and that’s ok! It’s all part of the learning process. Find yourself a great professional learning network (PLN) or mentor that can support you in your learning. Learn what you love, learn what you need to, and continue to learn and challenge yourself.