#CSLcamp36: Day 1 – Participant Thoughts & Recommendations

Update: as we receive more thoughts, this page will be updated! Thanks for sending in your musings.

#CSLcamp36 was born honouring these philosophies of learning:

There is no end to learning.
There is no best practice (signifies an end to practice), only next practice.
True learning is not something that is done to people.

As I support my own learning as a previous high school student of the 21st century, an education reformist, and all-around odd duck (to use Elisa Carlson’s term), I want to reflect on my own exploration of crafting professional learning and the potential impact it has on my colleagues. There is a lot of discomfort with change, especially when the status quo (for doing school and professional development) has long been the “drive by” professional development – we arrive, soak it in, and leave. I wonder – when we don’t have authorities tell us what and how to do something (vertical power) and we are being asked to self-organize and listen to our own interests (or even find our own interests or callings), how can we continue to be responsible for our own progress of learning as we work collectively (horizontal power) with each other without identifying “experts” or “exemplars”? Do we consider our conversations and connections as having a role in pushing our own learning to go beyond “best practice” to “next practice”? Is “best practice” even part of the path to “next practice”?

What is our responsibility as learners in professional learning?

I asked participants to answer five questions anonymously:
1) What were your big wishes going into #CSLcamp36?
2) For you, what were the highlights and takeaways of #CSLcamp36?
3) Did you find the sessions at #CSLcamp36 valuable or not valuable? How so?
4) What recommendations and suggestions do you have for the next session on May 24th?
5) Would you consider attending future sessions based on Open Space?

 

The responses (I have left these responses unedited, aside from identifiers (school names, names, subject areas, etc…):

 

1) What were your big wishes going into #CSLcamp36?

Be inspired; no excuses for moving forward; appreciate current practices with an eye to innovate

To find out more about how assessment and reporting will look when the new curriculum is implemented

Practical insight on other classrooms

To start to understand what CSL will look like with the new curriculum

Acquiring a broad spectrum of ideas

Learn more about assessment best practices and how to apply them.

To gather information and discuss issues.

I was looking forward to chatting with people who were in the same place as I in their journey with CSL/Assessment.

Have vision of what CSL is and particularly what it LOOKS like

 

2) For you, what were the highlights and takeaways of #CSLcamp36?

Networking with people who were exploring their practices. Seeing examples of what was happening in Surrey classrooms. The sessions could have used an identified moderator. Not always but it might help keep the conversations as a whole-group.

Many stimulating discussions with a variety of different viewpoints. Takeaway: many people have the same questions and anxieties as I do.

Meeting people; other applications of inquiry process; differing outlooks on assessment tools

The conversations really helped me to understand what some people were already doing and how I could start implementation in my class

Hearing from people who were CSL effectively or who had ideas on how to do it effectively

None

Rich conversation and the open space to morph into what we needed.

I am heartened with the flavor of many educators with respect to assessment. We as a profession still have a long way to go but at least the discussion has moved forward with assessment. (Away from the test to using conversation/product/observation as stated in Rethinking Letter Grades.)

collaboration among colleagues, choice of “conferences”

 

3) Overall, did you find the sessions at #CSLcamp36 valuable or not valuable? How so?

Yes! Side-conversations often occurred. This wasn’t so much an indication of interest but it was sometimes hard to hear others across two tables.

Very valuable. I was able to engage with many other professionals on topics of interest. I also enjoyed the collaborative spirit, particularly in the morning sessions.

Valuable in making connections across school and subject boundaries

Valuable because I was able to see how I could communicate with all parties when trying to create new curriculum on the curriculum development day

Not valuable. I did not learn much. It seemed that there were very few people who understood or used methods of CSL. I felt as thought many were in my situation – didn’t know much and wanted to know more. Because of this, there wasn’t a lot of learning going on. Lots of awkward silence, lots of questions, lots of complaining. It seems that many people voted with their feet and left early. This event had the potential to be useful, but there was very little useful information being shared. There needed to be highly informed individuals in each group sharing information, spurring discussion and answering questions. Otherwise, it’s the blind leading the blind and we go nowhere. Disappointed to say the least. I feel bad for those who came from afar.

I usually am pretty positive about my professional development experiences but this one was not very good. Groups did not have facilitators, there was no samples of best practice approaches in action (eg. I didn’t see a sample Fresh Grade portfolio), little direction. Seemed very poorly planned…does not appear to have taken much effort to put on.

Valuable in that we discussed. Not valuable – table groups were way too big and conversation / sharing was limited.

It was very valuable as it provided a safe place to discuss and network with like minded people.

Valuable. The ability to provide inquiries before the camp as well as refine those needs at camp via the voting.

 

4) What recommendations and suggestions do you have for the next session on May 24th?

The contributions to the Goggle Docs dropped off in round 4.

I noticed a conspicuous absence of **** teachers (my teaching discipline). I would like the opportunity to address assessment and communication of student learning with a focus on the upcoming changes to the math curriculum.

None.

Having people planted in the sessions to start the conversation. Once the conversation got going it was nice, but I feel that a lot of time was wasted with people being unsure of where to start.

Ensure there are knowledgeable people that are helping to facilitate each discussion. If the groups are too big, then create two smaller groups so all can participate effectively. It was frustrating being unable to hear what was going on at one end of the table. If we’re are being pulled out of our classroom for a day and asking the district to pay for a TOC, please ensure that it’s money and time well spent.

1. Eliminate the circle in the middle. Waste of space as it pushes everyone into the corners of the room. This idea is not worth it for the small amount of time we spent in the circle. 2. Table placement was really awkward. Some people could not sit in the corners of the room as the projectors were getting in their eyes. This divided the group/conversation. Round tables don’t work with groups that are this big. 3. More groups and smaller number of people in each group. Many voices went unheard as group size was too big…other groups had very few people. 4. Have an ‘expert’ share their experiences and samples so we can see good assessment practices in action. Then open it up. We include exemplars for students, why wouldn’t they be included in our own learning? 5. Topics could be predetermined based on interest beforehand. Send out a Survey Monkey to see what people want and create topics beforehand (allow for planning for #4, above) and save time the day of.

We need to break into groups based levels of where the teachers are at (dipping in my toe, planning well underway, fully in and searching for the next step.) Teachers who are further along the way encouraged and mentored others at the first session but now need to meet with teachers at a similar place to work out the kinks in assessment, reporting, extending, etc… Teachers who are just beginning need time to work and develop and not just be “wowwed”

In order to facilitate a discussion, having a few “point” people to guide the conversation would be useful.

Work out the details of CSL. We have an understanding of what it is and what it may look like. More details on recording information and how to present this information to parents. Maybe a contact list of colleagues in similar subject areas so that sharing can continue between schools in each department. Set up a shared google folder or chat where this can talk can be ongoing?