PD experiment: I want to learn… & I can teach… (1 of 4)

What if we designed professional development based on what faculty and staff wanted to learn? What if we experimented with different ways to gather information/data on what we wanted to learn and who was willing to facilitate learning?

We have ongoing peer-designed and peer-led professional development opportunities embedded into our calendar.  The Trinity School Faculty Staff Forums website offers a glimpse of some of the previous peer-designed learning offerings.

For the February Faculty Staff Forum session, we wanted to hear from learners.  What type of learning experiences are wanted and needed?  Rather than starting with who is willing to teach, what if we started with a combination of I want to learn… and I can teach…?

Here’s the doodle that got us started:


(To clarify, the doodle describes two parts of our experiment. We wanted to start with I want to learn… and I can teach… and after hearing from our community, post offered classes with an opportunity for self-selected sign-ups. Remember, it’s just a doodle to think out loud about what we might do. You will see what Molly and Erin turned this into in the next post.)

What if we posted prompts in the Faculty Staff Lounge that asked for information on what you want to learn and what you could teach?  Would the topics align? Would members of our community volunteer to teach something others wanted to learn? Could we construct enough learning opportunities to meet the needs of all involved?

The Faculty Staff Leadership team has a committee of three bright, highly motivated, and incredibly organized women: Erin Lindsey (@BusyGirlLindsey), Molly Flavin (@MollyFlavin), and Laurette Sirkin, who volunteer to take the responsibility of developing regular professional development opportunities for their peers and colleagues. They bravely accepted the challenge of conducting this experiment with me.

Erin asked our Coordinators to distribute the first communication about this experiment to our faculty:

From the Faculty Forum Committee: As an experiment, we want to customize this month’s Faculty Staff Forum Workshops.  We want to model learner driven instruction.  We need your help.  We want these workshops to offer you the choice to teach, share, and learn with others.
 Starting Monday, there will be a chart in the Upstairs Faculty/Staff Lounge for you to sign up to teach something you would like to share with others OR to add something you would like to learn.  This grassroots community learning experience will be more successful if we collaborate to cover as many requests as possible.  Will you please consider leading a session or designing a learning experience for us for one or both of the needed time slots?

The deadline for this will be Thursday afternoon, February 21 so that we may identify and coordinate the appropriate space for each learning experience. Thank you in advance, we look forward to working with you!

The plan is to have color-coded pages available for faculty to respond to the posted I want to learn… and I can teach… prompts.

In my next post, I’ll share responses from this experiment and our next steps.


  1. I like this idea. It’s like a mini EdCamp in design. I’m curious how teachers responded and how the PD developed. It allows teachers to be inquirers and also share their own expertise. I’m looking forward to hearing where this goes.


    • Thanks, Philip. We wanted the feel of an unconference or EdCamp. We also wanted to know what others wanted to learn. I, too, am curious about how this will develop in our community. I’ll keep you posted.

      I also wonder if anyone has considered trying this with young learners. What if a classroom teacher tried this for a review? Think about exam review week. Would/could the learners take charge of the review in this same I want to learn… and I can teach…?


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