What inspired us to design Teacher Learning Meets & Leader Learning Meets? How did both turn out?
As you may already be aware, as much as possible, we try and discourage school leaders from hiring us for one or two days of leader or teacher training. Let us explain why!
We are a very young organization, recently launched. However, our small and agile team of instructional coaches and schooling researchers come with years of invaluable hands-on experience of working closely with schools and educators across India. They know that one or two days of group training, however frequent, does not make any significant improvement in school leader or teacher practices. As a result, if you are a school leader reaching out to us to hire us for work, you will almost always find us encouraging you to try Classroom Shapeshift, our revolutionary school improvement intervention.
We launched operations in November 2021. Though we have a learned and experienced team of school improvement specialists working with us, you may not have seen us in action yet. Before hiring us for a long-term engagement like Classroom Shapeshift or The Leader Gym, you may want to get a sense of our approach to work. Perhaps, you are not sure yet that one can improve leadership or teacher practice without a leader training session or a teacher development workshop. So you may still want to hire us for a one-day or two-day workshop, and we wanted to be ready when you called on us.
Thus, (Leader/Teacher) Learning Meets were born!
When you allow us to show you how we approach work, we do not want to take the traditional route of burdening your leaders or teachers with an information-laden, strategy-packed professional development workshop. We know that a good lesson is a 'good' collaborative conversation. Hence, we decided to capitalize on that knowledge and design Learning Meets.
We imagine both Teacher Learning Meets and Leader Learning Meets as highly engaging and deep collaborative conversations within a community of practice, where educators come together to talk about the challenges they face and figure out solutions together. Our team of facilitators work closely with the participants during a Learning Meet to make sure that the discussions are interesting and worth their while.
How did our reasoning about doing a Leader Learning 'Meet' instead of a Leader Learning 'Workshop' turn out on the classroom floor for educators?
Take one of our recent Leader Learning Meets, for example!
As soon as we launched operations in November 2021, some of our very proactive school leaders were excited about the idea of Learning Meets. We started doing both Teacher Learning Meets & Leader Learning Meets as short, 2.5-hour online sessions. We worked with more than 500 teachers and school leaders during our online Learning Meets.
As schools reopened after two years of online teaching, one of our very supportive school groups based in Assam wanted to hire us for a face-to-face version of the Leader Learning Meet. On 4 & 5 March 2022, we engaged ninety school leaders and teacher leaders from 35 schools from Assam in Guwahati, deconstructing school administration.
At this point, you must be thinking: 'ninety school leaders in two days! How did that collaborative conversation go?' The school group that hired us to do the face to face Leader Learning Meet took independent participant feedback and shared with us. Following is how the participants rated the Leader Learning Meet and the conversations we had during the session.
Reiterating our belief that a good lesson is a good collaborative conversation, some of the participants said the following while giving feedback about the Leader Learning Meet:
I really loved how you supported us and made us talk to clarify some of these complex concepts about leading learning. Would love to have you again. - Rosant Benjamin, Principal
I realized that as a school leader I must be consistent in doing everything. It could have been nice if you could work with us for a few more days - Pradeep Ekka, Principal
Thank you. The Meet helped me introspect. I want to be more open in my approach to working with our staff, as we discussed. - Ignatius Sangma, Principal
I liked how we discussed the problems we face in school to find solutions in small groups and sharing them with the whole team to explore it deeper. I will initiate at least one of these good practices in the coming scholastic year. - Sebastian Mathew, Principal
I liked the conversational way of presentation. I learned a lot of practical things about school leadership. Very nice programme. - Jijo Mathew, Teacher Leader
It was really good to discuss our issues and help our colleagues. I liked how both the trainers interacted with us. I hope to join such Meets in future - Kaustav Borgohain, Teacher Leader
The Meet was a really practical session on how to become a better school leader. I want to be a pedagogical leader. I hope to meet both of you soon. - Biso Basumatary, Teacher Leader
Disclosure: At Innerkern, we are serious about publicly documenting our work. We feel it is one way we can inspire #hope about learning in everyone we engage, This post is written, edited and published by Team Innerkern (Editorial) as a part of our work documentation initiative.
Invite: Would you like to organize a Leader Learning Meet or Teacher Learning Meet in your school to have a sense of our approach to work?. Please feel free to get in touch with our Programme Team at firstname.lastname@example.org