(Un)Planning Our Professional Development

This post is about a future Reflective Group Meeting. I have been thinking about it for some time, and asked for the help and input from my PLN. September is usually the start of the school year in this part of the world, so it is natural that teachers and trainers are thinking about their CPD goals and plans. With all what happened in 2022 in Ukraine, it is understandable that these goals can be very different or irrelevant, and I was very hesitant to even suggest this discussion topic in our group. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly, as we are learning about the Ukrainian resilience and courage), my colleagues supported the idea for this topic.

I realized that I may even need this topic myself as a participant more than a meeting facilitator. This insight will be reflected in the way I am building questions for the meeting, and in some other notes in this post.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Questions originally brainstormed:

  • Have you ever tried un-planned/un-plugged CPD? What could be some pros and cons of doing so?
  • What are your CPD goals for 2022 (if it is not a secret) and have they changed since the beginning of the war?
  • How do you structure your (C)PD?
  • Do you have a favorite way or tool to plan your CPD?

Some more questions were added later, with the help of Fiona, my colleague and member of the TEFL Development Hub:

– What have you done in terms of CPD without having planned it?

  • a webinar you attended (especially on an unexpected topic)?
  • a helpful conversation with a colleague;
  • an article you read;
  • a new classroom practice you tried, etc.

– What has this experience taught you?

My colleague Burak asked a great question on his LinkedIn page: ‘What is PD for you?’ which I answered in a small visual.

In my (virtual) conversations with colleagues and friends I heard several inspiring examples of approaching PD (own or team’s) in a creative way, which I would like to share here and in the meeting.

  1. Pop-up PD sessions: about 1 hour each time, different times, locations to suit teachers where we could all suggest topics and then we’d gather to discuss, share ideas, etc, in a round table discussion. Credit: Simon, co-funder of the TEFL Development Hub (check their updates and join the amazing community of teachers!)
  2. Lesson Jam Sessions where teachers share ideas for the lessons AND give and receive peer feedback. I don’t know if the project is still active but the idea is so simple but powerful that I hope it does!
  3. ‘Just-in-time’ PD strategy: originally from management philosophy and not a teaching or PD technique, referred to the production of goods to meet the exact customer demand  and not producing more than needed (read more here if interested). For CPD, it may be especially helpful for freelance professionals, getting on projects where they need to master a new skill, a new learning platform, get comfortable with a new communication style, etc. Credit: Tana, my amazing friend and colleague, who taught me to say ‘yes’ to new and (initially) less comfortable professional adventures.
  4. Question for Reflection (especially when the original goal from the plan was not achieved, or achieved partially): ‘What else have you done instead?’ (Have you done anything that had not been in the plan? What [need] brought you there? What did you learn from that?, etc.) Sometimes, we don’t notice what else (and how much!) we do beyond what had been planned, and I find this question very helpful and productive.
  5. Comfort Zone: sometimes, we need to leave it, and oftentimes, we may need to actually step back into it. Especially in the times when life turbulence breaks the familiar cycles, doing small, familiar, sometimes forgotten things can be comforting. It is possibly a topic for a whole new post.

What would you add on the topic of planning, and un-planning your CPD? Have you ever experienced or initiated something less usual? What outcomes or insights did it bring? Please comment below, and it will be your contribution to our Reflective Practice Dnipro Meeting 🙂 

Thank you for reading!

About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict https://wednesdayseminars.wordpress.com/.
This entry was posted in It's in (Y)Our Hands, Reflective Practice and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Eager to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s