Byron's Babbles

Autonomy – Professional Growth Must Be Personal

Posted in Education, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 16, 2011

For me to get two posts done in one week is unheard of but after some discussions related to my post: Autonomy – A TALL Order I was inspired to write this post. A great example of what I mean when I say professional growth must be personal was a great learning experience I had a couple of weeks ago.

I had the opportunity to be involved in a professional development in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian Postal Museum called, Mission Possible: Reimagining the 21st Century Classroom. This was a joint initiative of the Smithsonian Institution and Pearson Foundation. For one thing I was really intrigued by the title because I’m always amazed at how we tend to title everything to read that we are moving into the 21st Century. I hate to inform all those folks, but we are already into the 21st Century by 12 years. So, the title Reimagining the 21st Century really seemed appropriate – And, it was!

In reflecting on the workshop I tweeted several times that it was the best professional development I had ever been involved in. And, I stand by that claim. Why was it so great? Here’s a list: the great facilitators, the great teachers who attended with me, the best photographer/videographer ever, Postal Museum, the D.C. experience, and ME.

Here’s why I say ME. Any time I am asked to be a part of a workshop or professional growth opportunity I always try to put myself in the frame of mind that I am going to get as much out of the experience as possible. An example of this related to this week of learning for me was Twitter.

Before this workshop, I had not yet begun the Twitter adventure. Prior to the workshop I got an email stating that we should create a Twitter account that we would be using during the workshop. This was the nudge I needed – I am now addicted. I am learning so much from the people and organizations I am following. Also, I have grown so much professionally by, A. Needing to keep my posts under 140 characters (a tough project for me); and, B. Making the posts meaningful in the broader context that everyone who is following me reads them in – in other words, I want to make my posts meaningful. Notice the autonomy here; the workshop did not teach me about Twitter, but was the tipping point to get ME to grow professionally. Note, I am still the one ultimately responsible for my professional growth.

Here are some other major points that were developed during this wonderful event:

-The great part about using social media in education is a student’s work becomes important to others. Students love this.

– Students must be coached to critically review all sides of an issue.

– We must facilitate active learning where all students have a voice.

Reverse Mentoring

– Teachers approach lessons with a specific objective, but we must coach to allow learning to be iterative

– In education, its not about the tool/technology, but what you are going to have the students do with the tool/technology.

– The goal is to create 24/7 learning for our students.

– Effective teachers connect, extend, and challenge their students!

– The three C’s of education: Communicating, Collaborating, & Creating

– We must all learn to be Strategists

… – And many, many more!

I think you get the idea. Anyway, next time you go to a workshop remember that a large percentage of the success of your professional growth starts with you! We all need to put ourselves in the frame of mind that events happen every day that can be professional growth moments! So, make your professional growth personal!

4 Responses

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  1. Kevin Eikenberry said, on August 17, 2011 at 1:29 am

    I have a few comments on this great post Byron.

    1. I completely agree with you – we are 100% responsbile for our learning and development
    2. Writing more than once will benefit you, and all of those who read your work.
    3. Welcome to Twitter!
    4. Check out this article, where I talk about the same linkage you are talking about:


  2. hotshot bald cop said, on September 2, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Fascinating views regarding that!


  3. Who’s In My Way? ME! | Byron's Babbles said, on November 26, 2015 at 8:48 am

    […] I was teaching in a post titled, “Autonomy – Professional Growth Must Be Personal. Click here to read […]


  4. […] 21st century education with the Pearson Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. Click here to read Autonomy – Professional Growth Must Be […]


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