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Teachers Teaching Teachers - Insights into Professional Development at SSIS

Teachers Teaching Teachers - Insights into Professional Development at SSIS
Tanya Olander

Professional development for teachers can range from conferences and remote learning to summer courses and independent reading. One PD form that has proven to significantly improve student outcomes is collaborative learning among teachers. That’s exactly what happened during our recent “Teachers Teaching Teachers.” 

The twenty sessions held during our faculty’s recent “Teachers Teaching Teachers” ranged from serious and thoughtful to creative and energizing. After each 45-minute session, teachers walked away with new teaching techniques, learning tools, or simply a fresh perspective.

Director of Student Development Najela Blain-Hammond shared insights on varied perspectives during her session.

An Opportunity for Learning and Discovery

Organized by EC-12 Learning Coordinator Jacob West, whose job it is to support and strengthen teacher teams with effective processes and systems, the presenter slots filled up quickly with SSIS faculty interested in sharing their expertise with colleagues from across the entire school.

High school English teacher Jeff Robidoux during his session on not shying away from hard topics with students.​​​

“Our goal is to make professional development as effective as possible, and a single-campus setting like ours is ideal for fostering learning across subjects and grade levels. Research shows that students benefit when teachers collaborate and learn from one another,” Mr. West explained.

Elementary school Makerspace teacher Ms. Helen during her STEAM-related session that included hands-on activities.

What Did Teachers Learn?

There was a wide variety of topics offered, including sessions on:

Making Thinking Visible: Grade 5 teacher Jenni Redman demonstrated techniques to boost critical thinking and reflection. 

Eight Core Drives of Motivation: Middle School educators Thomas Lupton and Daniel Mendes held a session about the Octalysis Framework, which illustrates the core drives that make someone complete a task. (Cover photo: Participants from middle school and elementary school collaborating during the session).

Windows to Curriculum: Najela Blain-Hammond, Director of Student Development, discussed how a curriculum can act as both a window into diverse perspectives and a mirror reflecting students' identities. 

How and Why to “Go There”: Strategies for tackling tough topics in literature and beyond by High School English Teacher Jeff Robidoux.

Expanding Creative Boundaries: Introducing effective prompt writing for Stable Diffusion, Nomer Adona, an accomplished artist and one of our three SSIS High School Art teachers, shared how the AI tool can help push creative boundaries. 

“I’ve never tried creating AI art and was curious how it might help me in developing supporting images for my teaching materials,” shared Catherine McDougall, Grade 3 EAL teacher.

Elementary school Vietnamese teachers gathered for Ms. Thao’s session, learning new strategies for teaching Vietnamese.​​​

After this successful professional development event, our faculty are already looking forward to the next installment in November. Because they know that not only does collaborating in and outside the classroom strengthen them as educators, but first and foremost, it positively impacts student learning.

This is what professional development, such as Teachers Teaching Teachers is all about - positively impacting students and creating a ripple effect of learning, growth, and improvement that reaches every corner of our community. 

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