The Chalk Blog

Professional Learning Series: Reflection

5 FUN Ideas for Getting Your Professional Learners to Reflect

John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” Mr. Dewey understood the importance of reflection, and we know you do too! For example, after you teach a lesson, you probably analyze, re-analyze, and then reflect on your analysis. But if you are on the fence about reflection, consider the research on adult learning and reflection. 

Transformational Learning is described as a form of adult “…learning that changes the way individuals think about themselves and their world, and that involves a shift of consciousness.” (TEAL, 2011) A key component of Transformational Learning is provision of opportunities for participants to think critically and reflect. Additionally, Self-directed Learning, where adult learners take the initiative in learning, includes important components like self-evaluation of work and reflection. Finally, Experiential Learning, where participants experience the learning vs. memorizing information, ensures learners have a chance to observe situations related to the topic reflectively. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Must Read Books for Teachers in 2019

Stay up-to-date with the best books this year!

There are three things we know well at Learners Edge - books, learning, and choice. 

  1. Teachers LOVE books. I have a team full of former teachers who now write content for Learners Edge as part of the Curriculum and Instruction Team. And guess what…we still love books! From my desk, I can see about fifteen books on one team member’s desk alone and between the four of us writers, there are 64 books for an average of 16 each! That’s a lot of books! 
  2. Teachers LOVE learning…always have and always will! The Curriculum and Instruction Team loves writing courses on new topics because as we read the text, we learn. When we design the course and develop assignments to ensure you fully comprehend key concepts and can apply new ideas in your classroom, we learn even more. We love learning just like you! 
  3. Teachers want CHOICE. While this has been a more recent revelation for us, it’s clear: Personalized professional learning combined with choice on topics is more motivating, more engaging, and more fun for educators. It increases ownership and provides opportunities to grow in areas of need and/or interest identified by the learner! You! For that reason, we have five courses in our Personalized Continuing Education category. We are the only online continuing education company to offer these types of courses. Two of these courses allow you, the learner, to choose the book. iCourse is meant to be completed independently while Text Seminar is meant to be done in a group of two or more! Your learning, your topic, your way! 
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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Literacy

Professional Learning Series: Application

Make Professional Learning Applicable to Your Participants

What would Ben do? (WWBD)

Ben (Franklin) was just down right smart. He once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” This quote is often used when discussing educating children, but when you have a room full of adult learners, how do you get them involved?  

Well, WWBD? Ben would probably offer opportunities for adult learners to apply their learning. This is one excellent method to involve the learner.  

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Climbing Behavior Mountain

Challenges and Rewards

Hardest thing I have ever done (physically): Hike from Wild Basin Trailhead to Ouzel Lake Campsite and back again in Rocky Mountain National Park with a 40 lb. pack.  

Most rewarding thing I have ever done (physically): Hike from Wild Basin Trailhead to Ouzel Lake Campsite and back again in Rocky Mountain National Park with a 40 lb. pack. 

Hardest thing I have ever done (professionally): Teach students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. 

Most rewarding thing I have ever done (professionally): Teach students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders. 

When I sat down to write a blog on classroom management, I started thinking about experiences I have had in my life that were similar to changing challenging student behavior. The hike referenced above came to mind. I was surprised at the number of parallels. Take a look!

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Classroom Management

Professional Learning Series: Investigation

Using Investigation Strategies in Professional Learning

One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to watch ANY show about criminal investigation. Popcorn…check! Heavy blanket…check! Total control of the remote…check! I’m happy! 

Documentaries like The Making of a Murderer or The Staircase and other fictional TV shows like Criminal Minds are quite popular these days. There are an abundant number of podcasts on these topics as well. But why are these my favorite and why are they so popular? Here is my theory…people like problems and we like to work toward solving them which is, in essence, investigation. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Professional Learning Series: Awareness

What is Awareness?

Merriam-Webster’s Definition of awareness: 

the quality or state of being “aware”: knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists 

The Learners Edge Professional Learning model describes awareness as, “Analyzing prior knowledge and experiences related to the topic.” If we meld this idea with Merriam-Webster’s definition of awareness, we can begin to understand the importance of knowing and understanding that the learner already has knowledge or experience that exists specific to the topic at hand. Why is that important? Well, let’s check out the research! 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Professional Learning Series: It Starts with Intention

Establishing Learning Goals and Exploring Motivations

Learners Edge, founded by teachers for teachers, is passionately committed to providing fellow educators with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help them succeed in the classroom and in their careers. With that, Learners Edge has completed a meta-analysis of research on adult learning theories, online education trends, and professional development best practice. This allowed for the creation of the Learners Edge Professional Learning Model. 

The model includes five elements to ensure adult learners experience quality personal and professional development and carry new knowledge into their classrooms. This will ultimately have positive impacts on their students. The components are as follows: 

  • Intention: Establish learning goals and explore motivations 
  • Awareness: Analyze prior knowledge and experiences related to the topic 
  • Investigation: Examine relevant, research-based resources to build personal and professional connections to the topic 
  • Application: Apply new learning through practical design, implementation, and collaboration 
  • Reflection: Consider the impact of new learning to influence and transform future professional practice 

While these elements are specific to Learners Edge professional learning, the same steps can be used to improve any adult professional learning opportunities and increase positive outcomes. This blog series will discuss the five components of the model specific to professional learning for teachers. Let’s start by digging into the first component, intention.  

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Beat the Mid-Year Blues With Our Top Ten Strategies

Don't forget to keep your 'teacher-spark' alive!

This blog post was originally published on the Learners Edge Chalk Blog on January 8, 2016, but the strategies were so well received that we freshened them up to share with you again!

It’s January…Christmas break is over, the days are shorter, the weather is colder and you are already counting down the days until summer vacation.  Am I right? But what happens if, or rather, when you catch a case of the blues as a teacher? Teaching is arguably THE most rewarding and completely exhausting profession.  It takes oodles of patience, passion, resilience, and commitment. By January we’re often feeling drained and struggle to find the energy to make it through to spring break, let alone summer!  Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to help you survive.  Our team has compiled our 10 best strategies to help beat the mid-year blues and keep the spark alive in your teaching.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher Burnout

Accomplishing Goals in 2019

One Word, One Goal. Start.

My colleague Jess played soccer in college. An accomplished mid-fielder--who was later moved to forward due to her dazzling ability to score goals, Jess’ all-time favorite soccer player is Abby Wambach. Ms. Wambach holds the record for the most international goals scored (184). Both Jess and Abby know a thing or two about setting (and scoring) goals.

Goal setting is everywhere as we kick off 2019. With all of our plans to eat healthy, get fit, and make positive changes--I began to wonder...why do some people set goals and achieve them, while others can’t seem to “score”? As teachers, how can we guide our students to set and achieve goals?

To answer this question, I put our team together and we developed a game plan with three ways teachers can assist their students in setting, and achieving, goals.

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

Intentional Wellness... Even in January

How to stay on top of your New Year's Resolutions!

Well, it’s here…January. For most people, January can be the start of a brand-new year with a brand new (hopefully attainable) New Year’s resolution or the possibility of looking forward to a Spring break vacation. But for teachers, January can mean no outdoor recess for learners with abundant energy and daily cleaning of all classroom surfaces with antibacterial wipes. So, how…how on Earth, do teachers ensure their own wellness during this time? Intentionally and with support!

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teaching Excellence

Learners Edge is passionately committed to providing you with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help you succeed in your classroom and in your career.

Offering more than 100 print-based or online courses for teachers, you can earn the graduate credit you need for salary advancement and meet your professional development needs. Contact us today to get started!

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