In a previous blog post, I talked about how I serendipitously found that the real value in our TLLP project was in the human connections made between colleagues:.Special Education Resource Blogger . Our team members learned from each other and collaborated in ways that they didn't expect to at the project's onset. When I drafted the project proposal, the goal was to develop team members' capacity for effectively integrating technology AND to give them the opportunity to grow as leaders within our school (and perhaps beyond).Included in the original proposal was the fact that our students would benefit greatly from our improved capacity as educators and we'd hoped that other students throughout our board and province would benefit from our decision to share our learning with our school, board and provincial peers through TeachOntario and twitter.
As part of my final follow up I sent out a self-evaluation survey for team members and for staff who allowed us to mentor them. I was flattered and humbled by some of the feedback I received. I know that I have been lucky to work with an amazing team and, apparently, they feel that their involvement in the project was meaningful too; I can't imagine a better result:
Staff who allowed team members to mentor them also seemed to have enjoyed the experience. These teachers mentioned that their mentors made them feel comfortable enough to be open to learning and that this learning helped them to be brave enough to take risks in their classrooms. Even more importantly, teachers who had been mentored mentioned that they had overcome obstacles in their implementation of technology thanks to their mentors. Overall comfort with technology implementation increased for the group and, just like the TLLP team members, these staff mentioned that their connection with another person was significant and made the learning more meaningful.
I've been inspired by what I've learned; so much so that I will be leading a 'Summer Institute' for the DPCDSB titled "School Improvement Through Mentorship". Though technology will have its place in my session, the focus will be on improving school cultures and nurturing teacher leadership; my idea is that the framework we've used for Effective Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age - @HCTLLP can be applied to any content area since I've now come to embrace that the culture of learning was the key. I hope to help other educators replicate this kind of culture within their school improvement teams.
My next step for this project will be to discuss the continuation of a 'learners to leaders' model for Holy Cross next school year and to apply for Provincial Knowledge Exchange funding this fall. My hope would be to share the culture of collaboration we have built over the past 10 months with a much larger board and provincial level audience with the hope of making a positive contribution to school cultures, professional development and teacher leadership in Ontario.
I'll have to finish by saying, once again, that I have been truly fortunate and blessed to work with this amazing team. I'll be looking for support if my PKE plans come to fruition and I think I'll know who to ask!