The Flipped PL Workshop Model

Flipped Professional Learning can be very effective if it combines learning experiences with reflective discussion.  Your goal as a coach is to foster teacher reflection in relation to their own learning and the learning of their students.  At the end of each session, create time to have a whole group discussion that clarifies learning and raises questions for the group to ponder.  Often a PL journal is useful so that teachers can record reflections about what has been learned, what still remains to be learned, and how the learning will be applied in the classroom. 

Effective Activities

The workshop engagement of Flipped Professional Learning can take a number of forms.  You might choose to run a practical workshop using actual teaching resources.  You might use discussion prompts that focus teacher attention on solving a commonly experienced problem of practice or you might make use of scenario-based learning.  Over the course of the year you might use a combination of methods to follow up personal learning in workshops settings.  Providing variety in follow ups will encourage teachers to explore their learning in multiple ways. 

1. Get Practical: Often the hardest part of learning something new is knowing what it looks like in the classroom and understanding the demands that new tasks will make on students.  For example, if teachers have limited understanding of and experience with the many ways there are to use word sorts to develop student thinking around reading and writing words, you might organise a number of tables with student resources on them so that teachers can “have a go”.  To focus attention on learning, a simple recording sheet can ensure that application of knowledge to actual classroom practice is supported. 

2. Discuss the Issues: Thinking prompts can be provided to focus teacher discussion on the important aspects of the pedagogical content knowledge that is being covered.  Provide a selection of prompts so that teachers get an opportunity to select one that they think is useful.  You might create groups of teachers and give each one a different prompt or use one prompt across all groups. 

3. Solve a Problem:  Scenario-based learning (SBL) is an approach that encourages teachers engage in collaborative inquiry and problem solving through the use of realistic scenarios to contextualise learning.  In this approach discussion and collaboration as essential tools for developing thinking, fostering the application of ideas to practice contexts and designing innovations.  For example, they may read about a teacher who is struggling to teach phonics to a group of struggling readers and as a group of “colleagues” they work together to help him solve his problem.

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