Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cow Tipping and Improving the PD Experience

Have you ever been cow tipping? How did it end up? Like TommyYou don’t have to honestly answer that. 
What’s the purpose of cow tipping? Does it make a better steak? No, it doesn’t. But, generally, it wakes the cow up with quite the shock. 
What is your school climate like? How excited is the staff you work with for the next inservice day? Or early out? Are they going through the motions? Are there some cows that need to be tipped? 
This isn’t a post to question the weight of your staff. Nor is it permission to knock any of them over. In fact, I strongly suggest doing NEITHER of those. And I will not be held responsible for any injuries relating to that activity. Or any others. Nor do I condone actually trying to tip a live cow.

This post is, instead, a call for you who provide any sort of professional development for others to start doing things differently. Math, reading, science, whatever. If your staff moseys down the hallway (like a cattle chute) and plods into the training session, give them a little shock by stepping outside of your own box. Make them get up and move around during the session. Utilize videos. Make it interactive by modeling Kahoot or another tool to collect information. Heck - put blank pieces of paper on the wall and let them fill in what they want to learn more about (if you are not sure what that looks like, come see it live at EdCamp Omaha, March 21, 2015. Click here to register!). I'm not claiming to have all the answers - I need to do a better job of this, too! Maybe I should've started this post with "Hey, Josh!"
If you continually provide instruction for students the same way, day after day, regardless of the instructional method, most are going to eventually tune you out. Teachers are not much different than kids. You cannot provide professional development the same way over and over again. They will begin to tune you out. Every now and then, you need to model stepping out of the box and tipping them over. 
For those of you who don’t spend much time around cows, you can learn more about cow tipping here.

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