Upper Elementary Literacy teachers from Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw community schools gathered in Membertou on February 4, 2015 for the first meeting of their Professional Learning Network (PLN).
Although there have been other PLNs in the past, this was the first meeting for this group of teachers. The purpose of the PLN is to create a learning space for teachers to share best practices and network with other teachers at their grade level.
“Having the opportunity to talk with other grade 6 teachers just doesn’t happen in my school since we only have one grade 6 class, ” said Tim Jesty, Grade 6 teacher at Maupeltuewey Kina'matno'kuom. “ Being here and talking with other grade 6 teachers introduces me to different strategies and ideas that have actually worked for other grade 6 teachers.”
Teachers who choose to take part are given a common article on a teaching practice to read before the meeting. They come together and discuss the article in small and large groups, which often focuses on how they can or have put this idea into practice in their classrooms. This is followed up by extended reading, along with further discussion on the teaching method and their ideas on how to put it into practice.
Each member of the group chooses something they learned or heard during the day and tries something new in their classroom. During the next meeting, teachers share their experiences of the new technique in their classrooms. They are given feedback from their colleagues as they discuss their challenges and successes.
Jillean from Eskasoni is a new teacher and really appreciates the opportunity to learn from these networking sessions.
“I benefit so much from listening to how other teachers do things. I really think that I would have been lost without it.” The same group of teachers will meet several more times, focusing on a different teaching method each session.