Summer Blogging Exposé – Week 4

Welcome to week 4 of the Summer Blogging Exposé. This week our theme is Personal Learning Network.

 Your Personal Learning Network

All teachers have some sort of Personal Learning Network (PLN). This is a group of people with whom they connect and discuss the work they do. It usually includes teachers and other people who are in the educational profession but can include anyone with whom they share the work they do and who affects their learning in some way. The main component of this network is learning. A great example is a post- Justin Schleider just published about the importance of his PLN, or as he describes it his Personal Learning Family (PLF), in his growth and development.

I surround myself with producers and creators who are constantly pushing themselves and others to learn.

These networks have always contributed to educator development and learning. Although it is often discussed in relation to being a “Connected Educator”, a PLN isn’t a new concept and has, I would suggest, always been a part of teacher learning. From short hallway talks to discussions around the photocopier to formal learning activities, teachers turn to other teachers to share and learn. Not all of these discussions result in learning but it is my experience that they are all sites of potential learning. “Each day is a PD day” is something I truly believe and the people around you can really affect the learning you do and the approach you take.

Reflections of the People Around You

I don’t know if this is completely true since for a good part of my life the 5 people I spent most of my time with were all about 13 years old – I was a grade 7 teacher – although come to think of it, I did fit in pretty well…..

The people in our lives have a major effect on the outlook we have on life. As an administrator, one of the aspects of culture I was very focused on was the positive – focusing on solutions that would help move the school forward, ways to build people up, and interactions that were positive and developmental. I wasn’t always successful but I knew that working at this was foundational to success.

I saw first hand how negativity could destroy even an amazing school staff. I was one of the negative people, something that I’m not very proud of, but I did learn that no amount of morale boosting or “rah rah” would overcome the negativity of a group until the negativity was addressed. When I became an administrator, I quickly learned how destructive negativity was for a group – I didn’t have the skills to deal with it in my first position and it ended up eating away at the staff and me personally. But I did learn that negativity needed to be addressed – it couldn’t be left as the elephant in the room – to not address it affected the learning of the students and couldn’t be left ‘to work itself out’.

Addressing the negative isn’t easy but it is necessary. This applies to all aspects of our lives. Negativity needs to be addressed and part of the solution is surrounding ourselves with people who are moving and looking forward. They tend to be grounded in what is happening today, focused on being in the moment and finding solutions. I find these people are very attuned to their own thoughts and feelings and how they affect what they do. They are very aware that not everything is “great” but they look for the positive solution to move forward.

 What Does Your PLN Look Like?

Who is in your immediate circle?

What type of people surround you?

How do these people affect you?

What does your PLN look like?

How important is it to surround oneself with others who are positive?

What do you do when you are in the midst of people who are not positive?

I’m looking forward to reading what others think about this topic.

Have an Edu-Awesome Week!