Professional Learning Events Matter! Marzano Research Summit 2019 Wrap-up
The Marzano Research Summit in Brisbane was a fantastic event and a real joy to present at. It is a professional learning event that brings a whole range of people together to learn, to network and, most importantly, to walk away with some practical ideas for continuing the hard work of improving classrooms, schools, teaching and, ultimately, student learning. From the discussions I had with the participants over the two days, I found that they were excited not only to access some of the research Dr Marzano provides us with, but also to turn that research into action with many hands-on strategies they could take back to their schools and classrooms.
The value of collaboration and discussion
As a presenter and author, I got such a buzz out of working with my colleagues over the two days – digging deeper into what productive collaborative teams do and what it means to actually work collaboratively. We were able to laugh at ourselves as we discussed the “people” element of successful collaboration. While identifying the difficulties of working with other people, we generated meaningful discussion about what might need to happen back in the school and in teams to ensure that our collaborative efforts put student learning first.
In our workshops, we discussed how the the wellbeing of educators is inextricably linked with the productiveness of teams. As educators, I think it is important we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but that we do take our work very seriously, because of the critical nature of our profession.
Professional learning events are vital
I think these events are a vital feature of the Australian educational landscape because they provide a chance for educators to receive information from the actual authors themselves, as well as from the author’s associates who are certified and endorsed to do so. It is important that participants are able to trust that the information they are getting is research-based and accurately represented.
I received a steady stream of positive feedback from my participants. Not only did they feel as if the book had come to life, but they also enjoyed the opportunity to interact with others using content from other Hawker Brownlow Education publications, which was a real highlight for me (especially as a co-author of Collaborative Teams that Transform Schools). Another source of encouragement as a presenter/educator was the number of emails I received from participants who had already begun to engage in some of the content from my sessions. The teacher in me loved the fact that some of what we were doing was having a genuine impact on educators’ thinking – the true benchmark of any professional learning experience. Educators were really trying to work out how to embed these tips for collaboration in their schools.
Contexts may differ, but we all face challenges
Events like this reinforce for me how the challenges facing so many teachers, leaders and schools are similar in some ways, and yet so different in others. The context in which they are working differs from one school to the next, one classroom to the next, one teacher to the next, which is why we are required to have events that not only support the dissemination of leading information in our field, but also information that can meet the needs of the many different contexts that we serve in education.
I can’t wait for the next event. Bring it on!
Gavin Grift With experience as a teacher, assistant principal and educational coach, Gavin Grift's passion, commitment and style have made him an in-demand presenter of keynotes, seminars and in-school support days. As a speaker, Gavin connects with national and international audiences on topics ranging from Cognitive Coaching and quality teacher practice to professional learning communities (PLCs) and learning-centred leadership. Read more articles by Gavin Grift