This week I am leading my PLC on a series of experiences to deepen our understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards and how they will impact lesson planning. Up to now, we have worked in groups to “unpack” the standards – I think every district impacted by the NGSS has had some PD devoted to this tedious task. The problem is that there seems to be very little reward for this effort. We painstakingly read each word trying to glean what the authors of the document were thinking, when in actuality the answers are already written in the K-12 Framework….. but enough of this science-specific talk. The point is that there have been many hours spent pouring over unfamiliar documents which didn’t achieve the expected result. Teachers (in general) seem to be difficult to persuade to adopt a totally different method of instruction; that is understandable we are responsible for educating the future leaders and scientists. We can’t screw this up!
All of these PD hours have given us a different understanding of the NGSS. Many of us are ready for the change, looking forward to it, prepared to do things differently. Others are reluctant while some believe that they have already made enough changes. Goal = met. Now it is time to dig deeper, to start sifting through lessons to locate evidence of deeper learning and increased student inquiry, decreased reliance on teacher-experts and more developing and showcasing student expertise.
Without telling the group, I offered-up my prized lesson plan. I spend many hours writing what I felt at the time was the best that I was capable of composing. Watching my colleagues read and honestly critique my work has been a sobering experience. I was afraid that telling them that I wrote it would prejudice them, it would certainly inhibit them from speaking freely. So I sit listening to their unbiased opinions, unable to defend my work. There are times when I want to clarify what the “author” must have been thinking and others when I am proud of my work. In both cases, it has been an exercise in humility to take the feedback and begin to use it to improve. We have just completed day 2 of what is likely to go on for 3 more.
Each day a new person facilitates the session and determines the focus. I simply love these new perspectives and cannot wait to see how this ends.