Registration is now open!
InspirED: A Fresh Approach to Professional Learning
Following on the overwhelming response to the Design Sprint during the Educators' Conference in Copenhagen in November 2016, and after two rounds of consultation with stakeholders, we recently released the 'problems of practice' survey, aimed at helping us to understand the acute needs that schools are facing, in terms of impact on student outcomes. With some 600 individual responses, we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to those of you who took part. We have listened closely to your responses, which have enabled us to frame the next iteration of the November educators’ conference: a fresh approach to professional learning that we're calling 'InspirED.'
OUR LEARNING: WHAT IS vs. WHAT SHOULD BE
The overarching learning was that the pedagogical challenges that schools face are increasingly multi-disciplinary and cross-curricular, by nature. Elements are shared across subjects and disciplines, and are rarely subject-specific only. This matrixed nature makes it much more challenging for a school to solve by means of more traditional professional development. When it comes to the most important (challenging) elements identified by our members, we were surprised to learn that subject knowledge enhancement, for instance, finished last, by a long way. Far more salient were issues of stress (due to so much assessment that may or may not align with what a school truly values), or differentiating instruction in order to meet the needs of diverse learners. Such problems of practice are not bound to a single discipline, but are shared among many.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Schools are desiring to tackle problems of practice in a more structured way, whether by department (discipline), entire division, or even entire school. In other words, the desire is for ECIS to help schools implement change by working methodically toward solving problems of practice, over a longer period of time, in order to ensure maximum impact when it comes to student learning.
EFFECTING CHANGE IN COMPLETELY NEW WAYS
Past conferences focused on the individual level: individual classroom practice and individual skills. Thanks to that structure, our members have a stronger understanding of what constitutes effective individual classroom practice and skills-building. Now we are building on that foundation, as we enter a new era in which we are being asked to create an approach to professional learning that will help schools to effect change in a way that we haven't done before – at the school level, as opposed to the individual level. Change at the school level is more achievable when teams of educational professionals in a school are rowing together, to accomplish larger goals for the school. And when schools win, students and families win. As such, we will be asking schools to identify teams of professionals to focus on a problem of practice in their school.
SHIFT IN MINDSET: IT’S NOT A CONFERENCE
Yes, we gather in November, but it is one stop during a longer journey of learning. The InspirED framework has been designed to enable a team from your school to participate over a six-month period, taking action that is relevant to your context: this could be by subject, department, division, etc. It’s up to the school to identify the team, relative to the problem of practice that it wants to engage.
IT’S ABOUT COMMUNITY
In its entirety, but especially during the face-to-face component in November, InspirED brings together the talent in our ECIS community to challenge, inspire, and propose solutions to real problems of practice. The two-day face-to-face programme has a number of interactive points when teams will gather to present their work to colleagues in a ‘pitch’ format, receive immediate feedback, re-group and alter their actionable work (if necessary), and make a public commitment to their work over the remaining months. These days of community gathering will be framed and led by a special guest host with a deep interest in education, someone who can help us look at ourselves with fresh eyes.
As InspirED is designed for teams from schools, we will be opening registration on 13th June, and the Problems of Practice (POP) sessions will be first-come, first-served, in terms of registration (they will be listed on the registration site and in separate communication). POPs are offered in two different two-day periods (Wednesday/Thursday and Friday/Saturday). When the POPs are full, they're full. So, if your school desires to tackle a particular Problem of Practice, whether by department, division, or other organisational principle, we suggest registering as soon as possible, not only to take advantage of Early Bird pricing, but to ensure that your school is at the frontiers of professional learning, looking to influence student outcomes with great intentionality.
We are looking forward to what InspirED will produce in your schools and in all our schools, and to working more closely with you to identify ways to create regular and rhythmic professional learning opportunities that enhance core expertise as a pillar within school communities.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
InspirED registration is now open!
2018: TBD, 14-17 November