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Each summer, our headmaster creates a summer reading requirement. Usually, it is a nice little book that can be digested on the beach. Two years ago, we all supposedly read Dan Pink’s, A Whole New Mind. While most people decoded it, I don’t know how many consumed it. Anyways, this year, I proposed that we should have a more hands-on approach. Besides, with our limited financial resources, why should the school pay money to purchase each faculty member a book when so much existed online?
We moved our email system over to GoogleDocs last spring, so creating a closed blog took a matter of minutes. Each teacher needed to read 3 articles over the summer and then respond by commenting on the blog. About 40% of our faculty took part in the activities. When we all reconvened in August, we had a nice discussion about the format and the process. Most teachers asked for their books back. And then, we were done.
In Will Richardson’s recent post, Teachers as Learners (Part 32), he talks about why teachers need to “see themselves as learners, too.” The ultimate goal of our summer project had been to encourage teachers to begin to create their own PLN and then contribute to a larger PLC. However, many people, including our head, saw the website as the PLN itself, rather than the beginning of a larger learning process.
Now, it’s November. Projects are rolling. Teachers are doing their thing. We are all back in our classrooms, and I’m just wondering Where did all the PLNing go????