Thoughts on Workshops
In my 25 years is this biz, I have been to scores of workshops of varying quality. Some have made a tremendous impact such as the first time I saw Wiggins and McTigue on their early “tour” describing the marvelous simplicity of Understanding By Design or Heidi Hayes Jacobs espousing the tenets of curriculum mapping. I have also walked out on a few as well, especially workshops sponsored by companies with a pecuniary interest. Fortunately, ASCD now segregates this variety within the Annual Conference Program Book.
Over the course of the last 13 years, I have attended the annual ASCD Conference regularly. No single professional development opportunity has made more of a difference in developing my educational philosophy and sifting for me what is truly important as an educational leader. Yesterday I attended the pre-conference session on The Art of Leadership with Principal and ASCD author Thomas Hoerr. Based on his book of the same title, Tom shared many thoughts on life as a Principal, how it has changed from his early years, and what leadership will look like as we travel through the millennium.
It was a worthwhile day and reminded me that workshops are primarily beneficial not just for new learning but for time to reflect on what we already know. There is so much noise in the Principalship and in fact, most jobs, that the time to reflect on one’s impact on a school is so valuable. Not everything Tom shared was new information, but my interaction among fellow colleagues added to my “toolbox” and allowed me to reflect.