This weekend I attended a IB PYP workshop in Hong Kong entitled “Pedagogical Leadership in the Early Years.” Our workshop leader, Anne-Marie Evans, was phenomenal! Her thoughtful preparedness, learning engagements that were actually engaging, and pacing made this such an enjoyable learning experience for me! The workshop attendees were also great, and I was able to make connections and learn so much from all of them!
Currently, I’m sitting in the Pizza Express at the HK Airport waiting for my flight back to Shanghai, and I’m bursting with energy and excitement about all I learned and everything I want to do with my new knowledge when I get back to school. My reflections and action following this workshop will take place over the next few weeks and months, but here are a few of my major take-aways:
- I learned some new technology ideas I can’t wait to share with my staff! Hopefully they will work in the mainland. 🙂 A few of the sites were TodaysMeet.com, an online “Twitter-like” discussion in real time; Padlet.com, a site similar to Wall Wisher, but even better and easier to use; Cousera.org, a FREE site that offers online university courses to students worldwide. To learn more about Coursera, watch this TED Talk by Daphne Koller.
- Leadership vs. Management- This was the heart of the workshop. The mix of collaborative discussions within our group, personal surveys to identify our strengths, personality style, and leadership style, and reflection after reflection resulted in the creation of our own personal Leadership Statement, the summative assessment of the entire workshop. I’ll post my Leadership Statement in another blog entry. I’d love your feedback!
- Group vs. Team- How often do you work together as a group, but not really as a team? I never really thought about these words being different, but during this workshop, we explored what it really meant to work as a team through several learning engagements (“Lost at Sea,” “Marshmallow Challenge,” etc.) and the truly meaningful piece for me was the reflection on each engagement. We had to reflect on how we worked together, which was made easier because each time we had a scribe to record our actions. This is the piece that I don’t do well enough with my staff. I find that I’ll lead them in engagements or show an interesting video, but then the reflection piece falls flat, and it ends up with me sharing my own thoughts with them more often than not. I would like to work on this, and thanks to Anne-Marie, I’m armed with some new strategies!
- WHY-HOW-WHAT- We watched a moving TED Talk by Simon Sinek who shared how inspired leaders lead from the inside-out. He shared a visual of 3 concentric circles with WHY at the center, followed by HOW, and ending with WHAT. This resonated with me because as Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Wow…this was so eye-opening for me, and really sparked a desire to find out not what kind of leader I was, but get down to why I am a leader.
- The Importance of Play- Did you know that play is essential to forming your brain? Did you also know that play doesn’t stop when you’re a young child? As someone who doesn’t have a strong Early Childhood background, this discussion was so informative. We watched this amazing video all about the science behind play, a TED Talk by Stuart Brown called “Play is More Than Fun”. I learned that play is vital for problem solving, and those who are play-deprived are actually at a disadvantage compared to their peers. I was surprised to hear that the opposite of play is depression! I cannot wait to re-watch the video and unpack it even more.
As you can tell, we had a lot of learning packed into our three days together! I am excited to dig in and expound upon what I learned, and begin to share this learning with my staff!