Changing the Paradigm of “Best Practices”
Often, professional learning focuses only on best practices or sharing exemplary student work. That’s important. But it’s also critical for educators to spotlight and unpack the sometimes messy and frequently productive thinking that leads educators to those best practices. And that’s where public learning is so valuable.
Clear, Defined Steps. Real Dialogue Among Colleagues
Public learning depends on dialogue between the public learner and their colleagues. This dialogue requires social and emotional support, so the public learner can be vulnerable, share uncertainty, and to be open to supportive challenge from colleagues.
Public learning begins with the public learner thinking aloud about a dilemma, sharing appropriate data related to that dilemma, and then inviting colleagues to be thought partners around the public learner’s questions and uncertainties. After colleagues discuss what they notice in the public learner’s data and surface questions in a discussion to help the public learner move forward, the public learner has the last word, voicing how their thinking has shifted and what next steps they want to take.
An Equity Strategy at Work
Public learning invites multiple perspectives on the student data presented by the public learner and the educator’s own thinking. It works as an equity strategy because all participating educators share responsibility for supporting all students.