Professional Development Done Differently

First the ‘Why’…

There’s no making light of the COVID-19 pandemic…it’s been brutal. Nor was Winston Churchill making light of the Second World War with his quote.

Churchill’s point, however, is worth examining, pondering and acting upon.

It’s undeniable that we’ve found new ways of connecting. Platforms we’d never heard of, such as Zoom, Teams, ON24 and a myriad of others, have allowed us to sit at our kitchen tables, office chairs, favourite sofas and reach out to learn with others around the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, every time I ask the question, ‘How many people find remote PD more effective for them?’, the chat room lights up:

‘I am far more engaged in this type of format.’

‘I have a voice in the chat room – I’ve never spoken up in 10 years of regular PD.

‘I love it.’

Now let’s be clear, many of us miss face-to-face, in-person professional development, and I’m sure we’ll be together again soon. That said, I think Winston Churchill would roll over a little in his grave if we didn’t consider changing a few things post-COVID.

As Robert Bjork argues with his term, ‘desirable difficulties’, we learn through struggle.

One of those struggles is our collective and individual environmental impact. I estimate I’ve flown 150,000 fewer miles in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s astounding. As Mark Barden, the author of ‘A Beautiful Constraint’ commented (via Zoom) to my Leadership class at Summerland Secondary:

‘With COVID, suddenly the whole world is dealing the the same constraint. We’ve had to figure out how to have a collective conversation on how we’re going to deal with this because we have no choice.

Think about Climate Change for example, we are going to have to have a collective conversation, as a planet, on how we are going to make those constraints beautiful.

COVID is a great dress rehearsal for us, as a society, to have the bigger conversations, that are even more pressing if you can imagine that, than the one we’re dealing with now.

It was his parting line in particular however, that reverberated through the theatre and challenged both my students and I to look at COVID differently:

It think this could turn out to be a real gift, 2020, for getting us all to a point of having really important conversations about constraints.’

This got me thinking…

2020 as a real ‘gift’…

making constraints beautiful…

doing things differently

Ok, so here it is. Myron Dueck Educational Consulting will still be offering in-person PD – be that conferences, visiting schools/districts, etc…, but COVID or NO COVID, I am offering new ways to learn that are cost-effective, environmentally friendly, personal and flexible.

Now, the 5 ‘What’ elements…

Finally, the ‘HOW’…

Simple ideas tend to work.

John Healy at Glenbard North called me up with an idea:

‘Hey Myron, I have an idea I’m calling …

‘Mondays With Myron’

A one hour session, focused on one topic, every other Monday for eight weeks.’

And so we devised a plan.

‘Why Resilience Matters Now.’

‘You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others’ – Dr. Phil.

Perhaps this quote has never been more applicable for educators everywhere as it is right now. Join this session for a closer look at resilience – what it is, how we can develop more of it, and a conversation around how we can better equip ourselves (and perhaps our students) to ride out this storm…and ones to come.

‘Asking Better Questions and Assessments to Match’

As our students moved out of our classrooms and into remote learning environments we’ve had to recalibrate, adjust, maneuver. Some of our tried and trusted instructional and assessment routines have well…flown out the window! Join this session to explore how subtle shifts to our questioning and assessment procedures can have a huge impact on deeper learning – wherever our students might be.

‘Building Better Rubrics’

Rubrics have been a staple tool for many educators, but how well do we really understand them? Join this session to look at how a few design considerations can revamp our rubrics to better equip teachers to assess complex demonstrations of learning, and invite our students to take a more active role in their own learning and assessment.

‘Synchronous or Asynchronous – How can we think outside the box?’

If 2020 had a theme, it could be ‘uncertainty’ or ‘disruption’. Just one of the many issues we’ve had to confront is whether our students will be in-person, at-home or some hybrid combination. This session will provide an opportunity for dialogue and ideas to flow around how we best tackle instruction in whatever iteration we face.

Here’s John’s thoughts on the sessions:

And a post made by a staff member:

What about your school, district or team?

Send me an email at and we can set up a Zoom call to discuss your idea, a schedule and a cost structure. Maybe it’s Work on Assessments Wednesdays, Let’s Figure this out Fridays, or whatever you want for your sessions. Perhaps it’s a 2 hour session at the beginning of the month, with a 2-hour session at the end of the month, with time in between for 1:1 questions, conversations, exploration.

There is a host of topics we could explore, but again, it depends on your needs and your focus. If you need some ideas, perhaps explore my sessions and keynotes to see what’s possible.


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