Learning from Adversity

ASCD has some new video clips in preparation for the 2011 Annual Conference. One hit home. When trying to get faculty and personnel to adopt new ways of doing things, it is easy to get defensive and take things personally, because it can get so frustrating. It is important to not take lack of interest personally and let egos take control. Just continue to share what is possible.

Video: Heidi Hays Jacobs on Learning From Adversity

Heidi Hayes Jacobs edited a book called, Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World. The way it ends to describe changes in the classroom also hits home for how we can make those changes.

  • We need to move from knowing the right answers to knowing how to behave when the answers are not readily apparent;
  • We need to shift from transmitting meaning to students to finding ways for student to construct meaning;
  • We need to move away from just external evaluations (by the teacher, of student work) to more self-assessment, which breeds improvement.

Organizing and Evaluating Professional Development Workshops

Earlier this year we piloted EH@Home in-person workshops. Creating a model for organization and evaluation was a very important part of this project.

Organizing each workshop involved a series of cyclic steps outlined below. From each workshop came feedback that was incorporated in future workshops. This enabled us to have near real-time improvement and help us meet the needs of participants.  Community engagement is key to effective workshops.

Conclusions to Share

  • The majority of participants learned about the workshops from friends and colleagues. Therefore, an effective way to promote workshops is through listservs, professional organizations, and networking.
  • Using pre and post quizes was very valuable in showing participants immediately how much knowledge they gained in the course.  Across workshops locations, the pre-workshop quiz average was 57% correct and post-workshop quiz resulted in 90% correct, demonstrating a significant increase in knowledge on workshop topics. This also indicated a need for additional professional development on these environmental health topics.
  • The use of a commercially available on-line recruitment, registration and survey instrument (Constant Contact) proved to be highly successful and effective in reaching audiences and facilitating follow-up information collection.
    • Most workshops were filled to capacity because of the convenience of on-line registration, ability to promote registration via web and email and for ease of sharing between colleagues.
    • 84% of participants completed the on-line pre-survey, which contributed toward workshop planning.
    • 51% of participants completed a post-follow-up survey two months after the workshop. Questions related to the extent they incorporated their new knowledge into their professional and personal lives and effective methods for future communication and professional development.
    • When asked about the preferred method for professional development in the future, 54% wanted a mix between in-person workshops and on-line education.
    • Almost all participants recognized they shared content and knowledge from the workshop with their friends and family. Therefore, the impact of workshops go beyond their professions and into their personal lives.
    • By far, the majority of workshop participants wanted to stay informed through our eNewsletters via Constant Contact.

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