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Participant-Driven Professional Development
Hadley Ferguson, Executive Director, Edcamp Foundation
Developing strong, energized teachers and keeping them in schools is critical to ensuring great learning experiences for students. We believe that teacher-to-teacher learning is not only an effective way to improve practice in the classroom, but is a crucial strategy to develop teacher leaders, increase teacher satisfaction, and build teachers’ professional networks. Our participant-driven, collaborative model and organically-growing community of teachers are an important alternative and supplement to traditional professional development offerings. the Edcamp movement has spread to 33 countries around the world with over 2,500 Edcamps having been held since 2010.
All Edcamps follow several key tenets:
- Participant-driven: Sessions are determined the morning of the event through suggestions on a blank session board. This produces conversations that are interactive and responsive to participants’ interests and needs.
- Free to all attendees. This helps ensure that different types of teachers and educational stakeholders can attend.
- Experience, not Experts. We know teachers want to learn from someone who understands their experience and can discuss the reality of implementing new ideas in their work. Edcamps treat teachers and other education stakeholders as the professionals they are, worthy of sharing their expertise in a collaborative setting.
- Reliant on the Rule of Two Feet. Participants are encouraged to actively self-select the best content and sessions and to leave sessions that do not meet their needs.
The end result of an Edcamp event is engaged, empowered, and prepared teachers who adopt effective methods in their classrooms and become leaders and change agents in their schools.