Episode Transcript
Ixchell Reyes 0:00
What do we do when our colleagues want to improve their teaching, but don’t like traditional notions of PD?

Brent Warner 0:08
We’re going to discuss where PD resistance comes from, and gives you some solutions that will help you and your colleagues and your students in this episode of the DIESOL podcast.

Ixchell Reyes 0:33
Welcome to the DIESOL podcast where we focus on developing innovation in English as a second or other language.

Brent Warner 0:40
I’m Brett Warner professor of ESL at Irvine Valley College, and I’m here with Ixchell Reyes award winning educator in innovation and professional development, amongst other things. Ixchell, how are you doing?

Ixchell Reyes 0:53
Very good. I’m excited about today’s topic. We know that conferences are an important part of professional development, but informal professional development can be just as valuable. And today’s episode is a little bit of an extension of episode 98. That’s where we talked about seven ways to fit PD into your busy schedule.

Brent Warner 1:17
Yeah, yeah. So um, so I think we’ll kind of get into that. And you know, we’re kind of adding a number eight, I guess to that. But I think the first thing to talk about here, people who are listening to the show are PD friendly, right? There. You know, by default, if you’re listening to a podcast on your own time about teaching, you’re in our crew, and in our you know, we have matching mindsets. But we all know that there’s lots of teachers out there that can be really resistant to PD. And for all sorts of different reasons. And so I think, you know, for a long time, I just didn’t get it, right. I was like, What do you mean, this is like, this is our job. And then we want to get better at it. And I you know, but when you start thinking about it, when you start talking to people, you see that there are different reasons that they are resistant to professional development. And so just kind of wanted to come in and maybe chat through a few of these. Starting with, I think, maybe one of the big ones. They’re all there. Maybe they’re all equal, I don’t know. But this idea that like, I don’t want a stranger coming in and telling me what to do. Have you ever dealt with that? Oh, absolutely.

Ixchell Reyes 2:23
And I’ve had that experience, because perhaps sometimes someone coming in doesn’t really know the issues that are happening on the ground in the classroom as we’re working. So they may give us something that sounds like we can apply it, but we can’t. And so then it feels like well, you’re dangling this beautiful solution to something but I can’t really use it. That’s

Brent Warner 2:45
right, yeah. And we don’t have access to that, or, you know, I’ve had things where it’s like, those are not problems that our students have. So a lot of times, you know, I teach in a fairly affluent area, right. And so, sometimes I’ve been given solutions that are like for, you know, places that are struggling with money. And I appreciate that, that’s, you know, that that needs to be dealt with, but it’s not on our campus necessarily, right. And so, so how are, you know, are they able to balance that and then, and then you just kind of start to generalize when you see those people because I go the other way. And of course, I do presentations for schools, and I do you know, workshops and things like that. And it’s like, I think there’s a value to see to having an outside voice talking about things. But I think once you’ve had a couple of soso, or sour experiences, then you tend to generalize. And I know a lot of teachers have kind of felt that same way. They’re like, you know, they’re just, you know, not really trying to help, they’re just trying to do their thing. And then and then get out the door. And that’s, I understand where that resistance comes from.

Ixchell Reyes 3:53
And yeah, so thanks, guys. Grace with limited the limited time that we have, we don’t want to waste it right. Yeah,

Brent Warner 4:01
for sure. For sure. So, next one up is I’ve seen this one come up too, is I don’t have time or money to go to a conference or to pursue PD, right? It costs it costs time takes time, no matter what some some schools give you some money for for going to these things, but not necessarily always. And so. So that one definitely is a problem. How often have you talked to people about this one? Oh,

Ixchell Reyes 4:27
yeah, the part about I don’t have time is I have to prepare and I have to it takes Yeah, it’s gonna take time and energy. Or the fact that maybe the school only covers or the organization only covers part of part of the costs but then you still have to fly out make your own arrangements and so it is it is expensive. It is very expensive to attend a conference. Yeah,

Brent Warner 4:48
it’s expensive and that time consuming part because it’s like all of your travel all of your you know, it’s like that’s also time when you’re like not able to grade papers or you know, you’re not able to work Make plans for a job. Yeah. So it takes a lot out of you just to be able to get that free time that you’re looking for. Right. And so that can be a little bit stressful for sure. Okay. Next one is I’ve been teaching for a long time. And every time I go to these things, they don’t teach anything new.

Ixchell Reyes 5:21
Well, that means you’re attending the wrong sessions, maybe but but it’s true.

Brent Warner 5:30
It’s kind of true. I think. I think that’s true. There’s different mindsets, though. Because I know a lot of teachers that are have been teaching for a long time, and they have a, you know, a curiosity first mindset, right? Where they’re like, let’s see what I can get out of this. And my, the, when I attend sessions, my goal is to try to find one thing, right? Like, and even if that’s an hour long session, I’m like, if I can get one thing out of that, that I can apply, or that I can find in a way to, you know, improve my craft, that is a win. And I think some people go in there going like I every single second of this has to be valuable, right? And it’s like, well, you know, we spent a lot of hours doing a lot of things that are not every second valuable. But if I can get something one, one solid thing, that’s that tends to be pretty good for me. All right. And then the last one, and I’m sure there’s other reasons that people don’t like PD, but we’ll go with this one is the last one is I’m exhausted, and I can’t put any more energy into work than I already am doing.

Ixchell Reyes 6:31
Oh, yes, that happens. That’s happened to me. That’s happened to me where I needed a break.

Brent Warner 6:38
Yeah, totally fair. And I love this stuff. And I’ll be like, No, not today.

Ixchell Reyes 6:44
So here we are. Yeah.

Brent Warner 6:48
Well, the nice thing about the podcast is you can listen whenever you want, right? Okay, so I think one, we’re kind of dealing with one potential solution to this, to all of these together, which is, you know, a lot of teachers will see their colleagues and their colleagues want to get better, right, be better teachers, do more for their students, whatever else it is, but they don’t really feel like you know, all these issues above or that are, you know, holding them back for whatever reasons. And so Ixchell you and I think from the very first time we were teaching together, this kind of became our solution to this, which is, you know, the brown bag solution, the brown bag session solution, or whatever you call it, but, but basically, brown bag PD, right, which is on campus, or on Zoom, or whatever it is, you just pick a time, lunchtime, usually depending on what your school schedule looks like, and when people are available. And then you just do kind of informal, quick and dirty grassroots PD, right? And we just say, hey, it’s going to be led by us, it’s going to be led for us, there’s no, there’s no one coming in telling us what we have to do. All of those things are going to be part of it.

Ixchell Reyes 8:04
I think one of the when you and I put together a brown bag sessions, I think one of the the important aspects of it was that people were sharing ideas, and it created a sense of community. And again, if you’re having a brown bag session with your colleagues, it’s just another I mean, you could be doing the same thing at the teachers lounge. But instead, it might lead to talking about celebrities, but why not come together and, and talk about things that worked. It’s another way to boost morale. And for me, it’s a way to encourage others to share. I think that’s one of the one of the aspects I like with PD is I like to encourage my peers to share even when they think they don’t have something to share. They do.

Brent Warner 8:57
Yeah, and you’re right there. I mean, it’s like other ways people call these different things Lunch and Learn or whatever else it is right. Basically, there’s so many times when you are sitting down together with your colleagues, and just kind of chit chatting, and even it maybe you don’t know you’re some of the new teachers or whatever. And you’re like, what are we talking about, right? Or you’re just gossiping? And so it’s like, hey, what if every once in a while that time together was just sharing some some ideas, something that’s working in your classroom, whatever else it is. So next part to this is that you’re also crowdsourcing ideas from each other, right? So when you have when you’re sitting together in a room, and you can share a couple of strategies or tools that you’ve built, or you’ve found effective, you can get new perspectives on thing, all right, and so many times like this is just like, Oh, you’re doing that I’m gonna steal that idea. And I’m gonna put it right into my classroom. And, you know, I think for so many of us, our best ideas come from share, right? Yeah, and it’s not just sitting alone but You’re going, Oh, what do you do? What am I doing? Let’s let’s bounce back and forth, that style is not going to work for me. But like you and your idea and your idea, and I’m listening to people talking now. And then I’m going to kind of combine those ideas, right? There’s so many parts to it that just make it way more powerful.

Ixchell Reyes 10:15
And then another reason why brown bags are so great is that people who might be too shy to do a formal presentation, or who might have a fear of, oh, I don’t know if my abstract is going to be accepted. I don’t know how to write one. Well, a brown bag is a great place to have their voice shared, and maybe help them out of their shell. Plus, they get to share their expertise without the pressure of a large crowd of strangers. And I think that’s by far one of the number one, I guess what my colleagues usually share is like, well, I don’t, why do I have to share? I don’t know. I don’t know these people? What if they don’t like it? It’s like, No, you have so much to share, you you think you don’t have to share, but you have expertise, you have experience. Plus, you have a different perspective. And I think that that’s one an important factor there that you’re giving a platform for other people to share without the pressure, right? It’s just your colleagues, you

Brent Warner 11:16
know, for sure. And I think there, there is a huge sense for all of us, no matter what level you’re at, or how often you do these things, that everybody already knows what I’m going to talk about. And so therefore, you know, nobody wants to hear it. And it’s like, I think nothing could be further from the truth than that. Right? Which is, you’re just like, wait a second, what are you talking about, please share this stuff, please let us hear how you how you’re approaching it, your your take on it, or you know, we just like you as a person. And so therefore your style of doing things might be influenced us to understand things better? Yeah.

Ixchell Reyes 11:50
And I think a great example of this is when we used to have brown bags at our previous workplace, I would just get so many ideas from people that I normally had, we just had different schedules. But at lunch, we would come together and collaborate. And maybe I didn’t use a tool that they shared, but it gave me an idea for something I could do. And again, the fact that I changed my approach or tried a new approach that development right there, right. So it’s professional development, just that that in that very small micro sense.

Brent Warner 12:25
Absolutely. So a lot of these things to kind of think about, we’ll come back and talk about how to actually build a brown bag session in a minute.

Ixchell Reyes 12:38
Add us on Instagram at @DIESOLpod, we are exploring how others are using professional development. If you’d leave us a comment, we’ll check it out. We’re sharing a lot of the great ideas that we see. So we’re on Instagram. Yep.

Brent Warner 12:53

Ixchell Reyes 12:58
So how do we go about proposing or hosting your own informal PDU? Session? Well, Brent and I have always said build it and they will come and read earlier said yeah, they will they will come be the driving force for change. If no one else is doing it already, then why not? Do it yourself. That’s that’s what we did. Right? It doesn’t matter if it’s just three of you at once. It’ll grow anyway, it’ll happen.

Brent Warner 13:26
I want to reiterate that point too. Because it’s like, if you want to talk about this stuff, and you just say, hey, like it’s an open invite, right? But ya know, if you have one friend that will sit there and listen to you, and you can kind of walk them through a few things and whatever, then that’s all you need. Right? And then we’ll get into a few of the steps for growing it and for making it an opportunity for people. But you don’t need to say okay, it’s gonna be a failure. If not, you know, if 15 Teachers don’t show up, or whatever else it is, right. The goal here is, it’s a brown bag, right? You’re sitting there, you’re having lunch anyways. So like, now we’re just talking about something a little bit more focused than I, you know, then what happened over the weekend. Right, that’s about it. And so it’s really easy to get started with, but we have a couple of tips here for, for getting yourself going.

Ixchell Reyes 14:17
Yeah, I think, first of all, limit your topic, choose one or two areas to focus on, given that lunchtime is fairly limited, and we’re already at work. So you want to make sure that you have enough time to get an idea and to share the idea. So limiting the topic to one or two things.

Brent Warner 14:41
Yeah. And again, that can be really basic like how to use this tool, right? How you know, hey, here’s how I’m using Google Docs and you could just show people for example. But with connected with that is like the goal if you’re not sure what to talk about is start small, right? So you should probably be willing to To be the presenter, if you’re listening to the show, and you’re saying, hey, I want to get people involved with these things, and you say, hey, I can present on a couple of these things, maybe you’ve presented at conferences, or maybe you’ve done whatever. And you can just kind of take those same ideas and bring them back. But start small with things that people are already asking you questions about, right? So someone says, Hey, I saw that you were doing a Kahoot? Like, what are you doing with that? Right? What’s happening in your class with that, right? And they say, oh, you know what? Let’s have lunch tomorrow. And we’ll get into an empty classroom, and I’ll show you what I’m doing. Right. And then you can say, invite other people if they want to. And then the other thing is my other part of this recommendation on the first ones that you’re doing this is really to set that tone is very, very casual, right? Which is, you know, anybody can come doors are open, right? Have people stop you and ask questions? So if you’re projecting something like, it’s totally cool, let’s just talk about it. That that goal of keeping it not as a I am, I am teaching you what to do. But it’s just like, I’m helping you see what I’m doing. And if it like works, that’s great. You know, I think some people when they do presentations, and people start having their little side conversations, they’re like, Oh, well, I’m waiting for you to finish talking. So I can finish my presentation. None of that stuff. Right. If people were talking on the side, let them talk on the side, right. It’s just a inner room sharing. And that’s the big goal here. Yeah.

Ixchell Reyes 16:26
And we mentioned earlier that this brown bag PD is very much a grassroots effort. So you want to keep it moving forward. But you also want to involve the people that are attending. So very many times when you have a good conversation, it’s a great opportunity to ask people if they’d be willing to talk about something. Oftentimes, people will be flattered. And they’ll be they’ll agree, I’ve had teachers have told me Well, I really am interested, I’m really into improving my students motivation towards reading, but I don’t think anyone wants to hear about that. Or it’s like, no, what are you talking about? That’s like, one of the hardest things to do is to have the help, we want to know. So. Yeah. And in an effort to keep the brown bags moving forward, so that it spreads. And it’s not all on one person. But it’s again, it’s a grassroots effort led by teachers for teachers.

Brent Warner 17:25
Yeah, well, I remember Ixchell, when we were at USC, we had a colleague and, and we were like, she knew all about getting into conferences, right, like doing applications and submitting every abstracts. She knew everything. And, and I think we asked her, and she’s like, Oh, nobody wants to hear about that. And we’re like, everybody wants to hear about that. And then we had to move to a bigger room, because so many people told us they were coming, right and so, so you’d never kind of know, right? And, and push people a little bit just to say, hey, you know, I think actually people really do want to hear about this. Because it can be a surprise to many people when they’re they have the knowledge and they think that everybody else either kind of knows or is uninterested. And so do that encouragement. And then also, you know, I would also say that you would go and invite people directly face to face. So if you say like, Hey, we’re doing this thing, whether they’re brand new teachers, actually, new teachers are great to invite, because maybe they don’t feel like they’re part of the community yet. And so it’s a good chance for them to come in. But also veteran teachers, right. So a lot of times veteran teachers are just kind of feel like they’re off on their own thing. And like, I know, I know how the system works. And so it’s a great chance to kind of bring people together. And in those direct invites, really help people now help get people to show up to them as well. And then again, you know, it’s, you really want to re emphasize this idea. You don’t need to prep anything to come to this thing. You just need to just show up and hang out in a room together.

Ixchell Reyes 19:01
Yeah, the fact you’re a teacher, you have experience, you have expertise. And then I guess one of the last ways to catch everyone’s attention and just make it a kind of like a regular thing that’s going on is to make a cool flyer on Canva, or your favorite design tool. Leave it in a place where others will start a conversation about it. Brent and I used to leave them in the teachers lounge or put them up near the you know, on a bulletin board and we’d have the topic and it was come you know, the more the merrier. But also understanding that people now will after a couple of these, they’ll expect one, when’s the next brown bag? When are you having that? And so it’s kind of, you know, you create our own little micro PD community. Yeah. So

Brent Warner 19:50
I was surprised at how many people really like wanted to start coming to them and wanting to be like–

Ixchell Reyes 19:56
Yeah! and even people that I never talked to – colleagues that I never really talked to because we had different schedules, right. And so I, that’s one of the most valuable places, or one of my, the memories I have of learning a lot of valuable tools and getting to interact with other teachers that were new. And I just didn’t have a chance to work with them at the time. But that was a time when we got to share with each other. And that again, that’s professional development, right? You’re learning from other professionals in the field?

Brent Warner 20:26
No, that’s right. That’s right. So again, I just want to reiterate, because I think the big thing is that people go, it’s gonna take so much time to set up and it’s going to take so much time to whatever and it’s like, no, if you’re, if you’re spending any more than 30 minutes thinking about setting this whole thing up, like then, you know, you’re probably overdoing it at least to get started, right. And so it really should just be like, Hey, I think I want to do this thing. Can we get a room?

Ixchell Reyes 20:51
Yeah, it can be as simple as as it could be as simple as Oh, I don’t know how to fix the settings on this. And that’s a question people commonly asked maybe about a tool. Okay, let’s go through it. And then, you know, during lunch, and then someone says, oh, that you know, about this feature? Oh, I didn’t know that. Oh, yes. This is how I use it. And so little by little conversations start happening.

Brent Warner 21:15
And then maybe you just do it once a month or you know, it doesn’t have to be all the time, right? It doesn’t have to know and it doesn’t have shouldn’t be.

Ixchell Reyes 21:23
Yeah, yeah, it should be something you’re excited about. And looking forward to and like Brent said at the beginning, quick and dirty,

Brent Warner 21:30
quick and dirty.

Ixchell Reyes 21:35
All right, it is time for our fun finds. And this time I have the Mitsubishi Uniball jet pen. It’s about a $6 pen in the United States, probably half the price in Japan, but it’s a rollerball, the gel ink type. And it’s about, I don’t know, like five inch pen with a little clip. And it’s a little chubby grip type pen. Just feels good in your hand and you can clip it onto your land yard. And I just bought one and I love it. And I’m going to see a little a chunky chunky accoutrement for writing. We’re gonna see if we can get some branded to maybe giveaway. I don’t know.

Brent Warner 22:21
Oh, yeah, with the new logo, that would be great.

Ixchell Reyes 22:22
Yeah. What do you have?

Brent Warner 22:25
I did a little trip around Kyushu recently. And Kyushu is known for its ramen and excellent food. And so we went all the way down to Kagoshima, which is the south end of Kyushu. And we got we went to this restaurant called Tong tone total ramen, which was probably the best ramen I’ve ever had. It’s definitely up there in the top two or three for sure. But really, really excellent. You know, pork based ramen. And if you’re ever it’s a chain, there’s a few of the stores around. I’m not sure exactly, but total ramen. If you’re in Japan, if you’re traveling through that area, it is absolutely worth the stop. So that’s mine.

Ixchell Reyes 23:09
All right. For the show notes and other episodes, check out DIESOL.org/ 101 You can find us on Instagram and you can find us on Facebook we’re @DIESOLpod on most platforms.

Brent Warner 23:25
You can find me on the socials at @BrentGWarner.

Ixchell Reyes 23:28
And you can find me, Ixchell, at @Ixy_Pixy.

Brent Warner 23:33
So for today’s mystery language global phrase, we got a new one here. [Proverb in foreign language]. If you can figure out what that means, let us know and send us a message and by the way, thanks to Mimi Macias for figuring out the last one. We’re sending you a sticker. We sent her a little message already so she knows it’s coming. But just for fun, you know, thanks so much for participating playing around and listening

Ixchell Reyes 24:05
Listening all the way to the end!

Brent Warner 24:07
You made it to the end.

Ixchell Reyes 24:09
Made it to the end. (laughter)

Brent Warner 24:10
Congratulations, and thanks so much for joining us again everybody. We will see you soon. And as always, thank you for listening to the DIESOL podcast.

Ever wonder how you can inspire your teaching team to embrace PD, despite their busy schedules or PD resistance? Tune in to this episode to uncover practical solutions that bring professional development into the daily routine without the dread.

  • Understanding Resistance: Recognizing some of the common obstacles to PD, from time constraints to skepticism about new methods.
  • Building a PD Community: Tips for fostering a culture of shared learning and collaboration within your school or department.
  • Redefining Professional Development: Discover alternatives to traditional PD that resonate with busy teachers.
  • Brown Bag PD Sessions: Learn how to start informal, peer-led sessions that can transform your team’s approach to professional growth.

Listen in to re-envision how you and your colleagues think about professional development in a local and supportive environment!

Fun Finds 

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