I recently spent several days in Toronto with +Ferdinand Krauss for the Teacher Learning & Leadership Program. We spent our days learning the 'ins and outs' of the program, things like the fundamentals, project management/budgeting, and time to work on our project. This was my second time attending the training and even though I participated last year, the experience was not lost on me. In fact, I gained wonderful insight and "heard" things that didn't get absorbed last year. I looked forward to the training and was mentally ready to engage in it.
Informal discussions around integrating technology in the classroom, project design & implementation, digital resources, and social networking helped "stretch" my thinking and has caused much reflection on my part. In his TED Talk about motivation, Daniel Pink mentions that one of the ways to engage people is by allowing them to self-direct their learning. The project we are working on, the professional learning network I am part of on Twitter, and the reading I engage in are all self directed and based on my professional needs and interests.
Essentially, I am building capacity by going after what I need and doing so with an open mind, prepared to deal with the critical questions and cognitive dissonance that comes my way. This is no easy task, but what makes it palatable is the understanding that it will make me a better teacher and leader.
As I reflect on the 2012-2013 TLLP that is coming to an end, I can't help but reflect on the learning that has occurred. I must admit that during my project there were times when I was not open or comfortable with the critical questions and dissonance that came my way. If my recent training experience is any indication of what is to come, I feel like I am better equipped to deal with what comes my way and do what I can to leverage it in order to continue to benefit my students, my colleagues, and myself.