Nido Teachers came together during our July Inservice days to build a shared understanding around our professional learning communities of Critical Friends Groups (which we have renamed, Nido Learns Together- NLT). Critical Friends Groups (NLTs) provide structures that support adult learning in schools. They are groups of educators who meet regularly with the goal of improving teaching and learning and are characterized by skilled facilitation and the use of protocols to guide adult learning. This simple structure assumes that (1) teachers have both things to learn from each other and things to teach each other, (2) that learning together will improve their teaching practice, (3) deepen their knowledge of students, (4) and build a shared understanding of fundamental ideas about schooling.
The second shared learning experience of the day had two main goals. First, teachers read and discussed quotes from articles about critical friends to strengthen their understanding of the theory behind the Critical Friends Group model of professional learning. Then teachers worked together in groups to brainstorm elements that excited them about our NLT work. They also brainstormed ideas about different aspects of their individual practice that they would like to improve in service of student learning. The final outcome of this session was for each teacher to walk away with two ideas that he or she wanted to share with their 2018-2019 NLT group.
Day 2 began with an energizing performance from JustinCase. We wanted to bring in an element of fun and excitement to get the faculty ready for another day of learning. Ian and Daniella shared important information with the entire faculty about child protection. Following this session, faculty participated in a variety Tunings facilitated by other Nido faculty. A Tuning is when a person (or a small group of people) present an idea they are working on to their colleagues to get feedback. The tunings had topics ranging from ideas people wanted to present at the 2019 AASSA conference to feedback on launching new units. There were several purposes behind this session. First, it was important for faculty to experience a protocol that they might want to use in their 2018-2019 NLT group. The tuning protocol is a powerful protocol for improving teaching and learning. Because this session was partially designed as a protocol learning experience it was set up in a fishbowl format. Some faculty participated in an inner circle and others sat in outer circle. People from the outer circle were still able to participate in the process to a lesser extent, but were able to be more active observers of the protocol which helped enhance the debrief of the experience. The second purpose of this session was to provide feedback to colleagues to help improve their work and to provide a platform for meaningful conversation about teaching learning.