Some of the most common requests the AIMS Professional Learning division is called upon to help a schools or districts with are:
- To help teachers close student learning gaps.
- To help teachers change instructional practices helping their students to learn and achieve at higher levels.
- To help teachers have a deeper level of understanding about what they teach.
- To help teachers communicate information to students in a clearer and a more easily understood way.
To think about how we accomplish these objectives, we spend two and a half days together every year as a division, collaborating and learning together. We usually choose to have a meeting near a big airport to make travel easier, but last week our group converged on Fresno, CA at the AIMS Center. It was the group’s first visit to the AIMS Center since the completion of the new remodel, and the first time all three AIMS divisions were able to be together in the same location, as most of our facilitators live and teach all over the country.
At AIMS, we facilitate professional learning (PL) in math and science, and we believe that refreshing our skills, learning new ones, and understanding current beliefs and trends in PL is a benefit to us, as well as what will ultimately help workshop participants that we see during the year. Because of the many benefits it provides, we are committed to hosting this gathering once a year, and I always look forward to it.
This year, our two and a half days were busy and we filled them in several interesting ways. There was a full day workshop facilitated by Marcia Tate (http://drmarciatate.com/) that helped us think about and learn how to better hone our own facilitation skills. We also played a non-competitive simulation game to help us learn what it takes to build a community of practice among a school faculty, and what leads a faculty to sustained use of effective practices and improved learning. The game asked us to collaborate about a realistic simulation wherein our groups roleplayed a professional learning leadership team in a school. We had to choose and implement professional learning activities addressing the specific needs of the faculty at the school. We also spent some time thinking about how we could incorporate good noticing skills into our own workshop days.
I am most grateful to have a group of facilitators that is smart, funny, engaged, and invested in the Professional Learning Division at AIMS. I look forward to our meeting every year and the growth that we experience by being a part of it.