This last weekend, I had the privilege of joining educators from around the world at the 2018 edition of Learning2Asia.org, hosted by the American School in Japan. The conference uses innovative structures, extended sessions, and workshops on progressive pedagogy to really push educators from best practice into next practice.
Even as a workshop presenter, I left with inspiration and new ideas – and I think that’s what is so special about educators coming together to learn. Through networking, dialogue, active learning, and collaboration, presenters and facilitators grow.
I take this seriously and try to grow as a workshop leader each and every time. Learning2 is one of the few conferences where they have structured feedback for each presenter, and we receive it the same day so we can adjust for the next workshop.
My participants are able to grade how well I met my learning objectives on a 5-point scale, as well as leave free comments on takeaways and wonderings. While I scored well on my first presentation, earning mostly 5’s, I used the comments I received to try and improve overnight.
It seemed my participants wanted more out of my last two objectives, which were:
- Engage with a variety of data tools for you and your students
- Practice conversation and reflection protocols
While I thought I had framed my workshop around these goals – there was apparently a disconnect between what I thought I was facilitating and what my participants hoped to take with them. I realized that maybe I wasn’t being as explicit about my “facilitator-moves” and what they could take with them to their own classrooms.
The next day, I made a simple adjustment – I used a Thinking Collaborative workshop technique of hanging poster paper and listing the Strategies and Protocols I was using, drawing the participants’ attention to the poster throughout the workshop. The change in my surveys showed a marked difference:
On all outcomes, I had a smaller proportion of 3’s and a larger proportion of 5’s than before. The difference is even more striking when I showed the growth in each learning objective:
Making the posters required little effort and seemed to resonate with my Day 2 participants. There were still participants looking for more solutions to their specific context – a balance I still am looking to find.
Some of the comments from the second day’s feedback were:
“great session – very well organized with many different modes of learning integrated – discussion in groups, individual reflection, creative art work, apps, silent reading, collaborative reading”
“The session was informative and energizing. Thanks for the multiple tools and dialog protocols”
My participants make me a better facilitator, coach, and educator. I get as much from them as they do from me. Together, we are better.