Emergent Professional Learning

As a consultant team, during our recent STF-directed PD day, we were challenged by Wendy Jones from Saskatoon Public to change something in our current PD facilitation practices to improve our abilities in facilitating professional development……..

As overwhelming as this challenge seemed we all set out to establish a goal to move our PD facilitation practices forward.

My personal goal became: Incorporating more check-ins within PD events to create a more responsive professional learning environment.

As I think more about this goal I am beginning to make connections to the early learning principle of emergent curriculum.

If I am advocating for early learning teachers to follow the lead of their students, how can I as a professional development leader/facilitator adopt a philosophy of emergent professional learning?

According to Stacey (2011) Emergent Curriculum is defined as a cycle that involves:

  • Watching and listening to children with care
  • Reflecting on and engaging in dialogue with others about what is happening; and
  • Responding thoughtfully in ways that support children’s ideas, questions, and thinking.

What if I applied this cycle to the professional development opportunities I provide for teachers?

During my professional development “events” do I truly watch and listen to the teachers in attendance with care?

Do I reflect on and engage with teachers in attendance about what is happening or being presented?

And, do I respond thoughtfully in ways that support teacher’s ideas, questions and thinking?


Am I focused on covering the content of my carefully and preplanned workshop agenda?

Am I predetermining the interests, needs and thinking of the teachers attending?

Am I flexible in the content and structure of the “event”?


As Stacey (2011) challenges, “How can we parallel what we offer educators with what we want educators to offer children?” (pg.38)

December 15, 2014Permalink