Ed Camps: “A Vast International Conspiracy to Destroy Traditional Professional Development”

… and how we adapted this model for our Tuesday night staff meetings

We have a large and diverse staff – 120 professionals from over 25 countries whose responsibilities range from Pre-K to Grade 5 teacher, single-subject teacher, guidance counselor, PYP coordinator, literacy/math coach, administrator, librarians, teaching assistant…and more.

So when it comes to our weekly, Tuesday night staff meetings the obvious question is:

“How can we design a staff meeting that meets all the diverse professional development needs of our staff?”

Right?

Wrong.

The real question should be:

“How can we best use one meeting, to help our staff share their diverse expertise with one another?”

As educators, we are constantly trying to differentiate our lessons to meet the diverse needs of our students, so it only makes sense that we should be taking the same approach towards professional development for our staff. We always talk about being student-centered, following student inquires and valuing student interests and questions. So, how can we take our own advice when it comes to professional development?

One answer: EdCamp

This EdCamp model is designed for a full-day workshop. At our school, we have adapted this model to fit a 1 hour, weekly staff meeting. Here is what it looks like at our school:

Sunday & Monday – Any staff member can sign up to facilitate an EdCamp about anything they like. They post their name, the focus of their camp and the location. All sign-ups are posted in a central location. The sign-up board is a work-in-progress, so teachers can join together and the change the focus of their EdCamp right up until the staff meeting.

EdCamp

Tuesday – After 5-10 minutes of announcements and reminders, staff choose which EdCamp they would like to attend. EdCamps run for 30-40 minutes where all staff have the opportunity to dialogue about educational issues and practices that they are interested in. Then the staff reconvenes to share their learning with other staff members from other EdCamps.

Wednesday & Thursday – Next to the EdCamp sign-up board is a “Wanted” board where staff can write topics they are interested in discussing at the next week’s EdCamp. This has been a great way to allow staff to express what they are interested in learning more about. From there, staff can see what topics are of interest and based on those, sign up the following week to lead an EdCamp.

EdCampsWanted

So far the feedback from our staff has been very positive!

“I wish could have been doing this every staff meeting night all year.”

“I need 4 more EdCamps on (Growth Mindset). I feel like I’m just sinking my teeth into it!”

“ I can’t wait to see what camps will be happening next Tuesday.”

“It’s nice to be acknowledged as a source of professional development and not just a receptacle for it.”

We are still new to this model and have only been trying it for a few weeks. We will continue to pilot it and share our findings with you. If you have any questions, comments or concerns –as always – please feel free to post a comment.

If you are interested in trying a similar model at your school, here is a great video to show to your staff about what it is and how it works.

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3 thoughts on “Ed Camps: “A Vast International Conspiracy to Destroy Traditional Professional Development”

  1. ryanharwood17 February 12, 2015 / 8:51 am

    It is great to see that this is happening in other international schools. We’ve are working on bringing this model to LCS and the blogs from your school are a great resource. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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