PD--Professional Development--is typically a studentless affair. "Let's talk about how to teach our students better, but be sure that none of them are around to participate."
Is that the best way to do it? Is the best way for teaching professionals to improve what they do for students to do it with the students not there?
Not necessarily, and there is a strong case to be made for doing it the other way. I ask for this all the time, but few have the courage to try it.
One group that did is the SEK foundation in Spain, patron of a number of schools as well as a university, and long a bastion of educational innovation.
This past July they brought together 60 teachers and 60 students, age 8-15, in a 4-day workshop in Madrid called Jornada Inspira---"Journey of Inspiration."
And inspiring it was. Over the course of those 4 days teachers worked with students in groups, students worked in groups and by themselves, and teachers worked with each other, in many combinations. With video as the main means of capture they went from making solo intro videos, to sharing their passions, to creating extended narratives and providing feedback.
Each group, teachers and students, brought something unique to the workshop and each learned from each other. All agreed it was an extremely successful experiment, and a great way for both teachers and students to develop new skills. Viva Inspira! and Viva SEK!