Friday, October 5, 2012
Reflections on starting a PLP
Yesterday I joined the world of PLP, or Powerful Learning Practice. I will be working with a group of 5 other WRDSB educators, as well as colleagues and mentors from around North America and the world. After having had a day to let it all percolate, I'm thinking about how I'm going to incorporate this year-long learning experience into my already quite busy life. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beech and Will Richardson both gave us advice to take this slowly and carefully, so as not become completely overwhelmed and discouraged by its enormity. Like tour guides at the trailhead, they warned us to take the flat, scenic path first, rather than madly sprinting off by ourselves to the jagged cliff edge. From what percolated, I think PLP is about constantly keeping an eye on your own practice in education, just to make sure that you're up to date, lessons are relevant to learners, and that you're preparing young people to be fully functional, capable, happy members of society. In our specific context, it means embracing and blending in the wonders of technology that are everywhere, so that kids a) know how to use technology for good not evil; b) are taking evolutionary steps along with society, building growth, change, and adaptation into their lifestyles. I like how Sheryl described the PLP journey. She described the internet as a river. Constantly flowing, approachable and inviting. Sometimes we want to dip our feet to relax and cool off; other times we dive in head first and swim for a while. Still, there are other days (particularly in Canada) when we're not really into swimming or getting wet; the river is still there- quietly going about its business, and there to welcome us back when we're ready to go there. Before she made that analogy, I had a visual in my head of how I felt about this journey. I picture a great scene from "Finding Nemo" where Crush the sea turtle is grooving along in the EAC (East Australian Current) along with hundreds of other fish, and has Dory and Marlin in his care. When the current blasts ahead, he screams "Righteous! Righteous!" loving every minute of it. (incidentally his turtle kids happily go with the flow, just trusting that everything is going where it should). When Dory and Marlin jump from the stream at Sydney, they look around, a bit unsure of what to do next, but not panicking that they may have made some kind of mistake. I think that's the key- wherever PLP may take you, it's not a right or wrong destination. The trip there changes who you are, and now you need to absorb that little piece of the journey into your being, and carry on to the next stop, trusting that this is all going to be a good move in the end. I have yet to attend the first webinar- I'm still learning to navigate the ning. So right now I'm on the banks of the River PLP content to watch it flow by me, doing its thing. I know that soon my feet will be in it and I'll be talking to the little fish that go by. Don't tell me if the river sneaks around a bend and opens into some furious rapids; I want to find that out for myself when the time comes.