You may have seen this YouTube clip that is circling social media at the moment.
It was taken at a Chicago Professional Development session and was shared as an example of why teachers are going out of their minds on the Washington Post blog, Answer Sheet. In the last couple of days I have also read Wes Fryer’s post, with a good reminder not to turn this into a stereotype and also Larry Ferlazzo’s blog, who felt “Yes, you can make a lot of things look bad taken out of context, but I don’t think a case can be made that this is appropriate for any professional development, or classroom, context….”
When I first watched it many emotions swarmed inside me; sadness, horror, embarrassment, anger, disbelief. At one stage I may have laughed at the outrageousness of it all.
There is one part of the video which continues to niggle at me. What makes me most upset is that no one stood up to it. Are we so disempowered that we can’t stand up for what we know is right? Every teacher in the room knows this is not learning. But still they responded and chanted. And if I had been there I would have done exactly the same thing. I know that because I do already. I sit through “content delivery” at professional development after professional development and I feel myself being patronised but I continue to put up with it. I know better but still I let it go on.
If there is anything I can learn from this video it is that I need to speak up. I shouldn’t sit by and let this happen. I need to offer support to those facilitating professional learning and offer feedback. Not in a survey but in a real face to face feedback. I need to use my knowledge and experience about learning and share this with others. I need to encourage others not to accept this either and nor should our students. I need to take a stand so this doesn’t become the stereotype of professional learning in any setting.