Each one of us is born to learn. Our learning journey starts from the cradle and continues till the last breath. Through the years as we think, question, struggle, explore, unlearn and relearn; we develop as unique individuals with unique ways of making sense of and negotiating our options in the world around us. We grow, adapt to change and we all learn differently, each carving out a path, a niche and meaning to satiate existential angst. Schools are a microcosm of this compelling journey of learning that weaves us together as a species.
Be it for school leaders or teachers – more aptly called ‘facilitators of learning’ – or students, learning can flourish only when it caters to the specific needs of each learner. The lifelong process of learning breeds in a free space where we think, explore, collaborate and rethink together. Thus, all professional development initiatives at schools need to be a part of an evolving professional learning community – a learning community where students, teachers, parents and various other stakeholders work as an inclusive community that learns and grows together.
Professional development workshops need to be designed to support schools based on specific needs identified through internal and external quality assurance reviews. While workshops may help learners adapt new skills, the learning community at the school plays a key role as a learning support system where learners make their attempts and mistakes, share feedback and acquire new skills. No matter how effective and engaging, all workshops are forgotten within the spectrum of a week as one gets absorbed in the daily rigmarole. Impact can be sustained through follow-up in-class mentoring sessions, peer observations, online / offline discussion forums. In an inclusive system each stakeholder is an integral part of the feedback and decision-making process and engages in a continuous formative review of effectiveness in the classroom.
The journey of learning only begins…
By Amrita Vohra