Professional Learning Experiences by Keisha Taylor

As August approaches, I use this time to reflect on my professional learning experiences over the last twelve months. Working at a nonprofit that supports college and career readiness for students across the country, the cycles of learning and professional learning opportunities vary from working in the K-12 sector. I use the month to think of the plans I intend to make as I craft and develop plans that work for the majority of career and technical education teachers I work with each year. The summer is busy and booming with a plethora of learning opportunities within the districts, the state, and the national annual conference. I find true value and importance in the Learning Forward professional learning standards and applying it to my work as an external provider to school districts. The principles focus and center the recommendations I make and implement into the programming. I strive to employ elements of building networking and professional networking communities, leadership sessions, providing each session with data, resources, student outcomes, potential implementation suggestion and key learning designs.  Most recently, I attended a Marriott event and learned about the new trends in event planning and programming for the future. I learned that corporate events are very similar to education events. The language is a bit different, but aligning the content helped me in focusing on the key components in extracting elements to craft high quality professional learning programming.

The 5 sessions included the following:

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Orchestrated Serendipity
  • Multi-modal design
  • Bigger than Oneself
  • Clear Sense of Place

Each session embodied the concept on the user end and helped me think through what is possible for educators to attend professional learning events that I coordinate that use these key concepts as a driving force. There are ways to create sessions that use the concepts and address financial implications, or even logistical implications. When educators leave the classroom and take time away from other areas of their lives I want to make sure that the moments of learning are meaningful and the take aways are impactful. Working on designing space that is comfortable and creative is an area I have spent the last few years researching and inquiring about across the country, this year I was able to implement a two-sided lounge with a variety of furniture that made networking easier for participants. Each conference I lead has a theme, but the new concept I will try moving forward is to try to lead the team in creating social impact and meaningful engagement, it is a huge concept and will have long lasting impact beyond the conference and attendees can take that concept to their school community. Finally, an important concept to think through when planning conferences is the actual location and bringing in the spirit of the city or state into the event.

I was truly pleased to see that these concepts were transferable to my world as a professional learning developer in merging these ideas with Learning Forward’s professional learning standards. 

-Keisha Taylor