Grassroots Professional Development

Grassroots Professional Development

“Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers.” Richard Bach


On Saturday, April 5th 2014, a number of Regina Public Schools educators are hosting #EdCampYQR – an “unconference” for teachers, administrators, teacher-librarians, educational assistants, and teaching assistants. What is EdCampYQR and why am I excited about it? This is a grassroots learning, sharing and development opportunity that demonstrates that our educators have so much to share and learn from each other. It is a chance to talk about what works in and out of our classrooms right here in Regina, or YQR, as the cool kids call it.

More specifically, an “EdCamp” is a professional development “unconference”. There are no pre-set sessions; participants decide what they want to talk and learn about on the day of the event, based on need and interest. This is truly from the ground up PD; anyone can present and lead a discussion. Similarly, everyone is encouraged to vote with their feet, or move on to another session. They call this “The Law of Two Feet”.

The staff in our schools are professionals. Too often, the public may not recognize that it takes great skill, preparation and courage to get in front of an audience and lead instruction and conversation for one hour, one morning, one day, one semester, one whole school year! Specifically, in our schools, staff make lifelong connections to students and inspire countless young minds. They make the difference, both educational and personal, at a level that would make any external consultant jealous.

EdCampYQR is open and free to all Regina Public Schools staff who work with students and teachers. Also invited are teaching professionals from other school divisions. I encourage all staff to consider participating in this exciting learning and sharing opportunity.  

The most recent EdCampYQR was held last August and it was a great success. Why was it successful? To be blunt, it was successful because it wasn’t organized by people with formal leadership positions. Rather, it was organized and led by the very professionals who benefited from it. You identified that you wanted to learn more about something, and you went out and not only learned about it, but created an opportunity for your peers to benefit too. Isn’t that the hallmark for inquiry-based learning?

I started this blog with a Richard Bach quotation. Personal and professional development begins when we recognize that learning, teaching and doing are all essential parts of the same process – a vocation for some, but for most of you, I trust, an avocation as well!

Please take the time to register  for EdCampYQR and participate in #EdCampYQR on Twitter and continue to share and learn from each other on your blog at RPSConnectED.

Julie MacRae

Director of Education