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Learning by design: (Un)professional development in innovative schools

Session 5
Matthew Riggan and Tom Gaffey — The Workshop School, Building 21

No matter how clever or innovative you are, a school design is only as strong as your capacity to implement it. And implementation is more about adapting and evolving a design than executing it. As leaders in new schools, we’ve learned that the key to being able to evolve and adapt is to involve the whole staff in that work. School design is an ongoing, collaborative process. It’s also an amazing professional learning experience.

Traditional professional development assumes that changes in schools or classrooms follow from professional development. We believe that learning is a byproduct of change work. This session introduces participants to “Design-based PD,” an approach we’ve piloted in Philadelphia's Innovation Network schools over the last two years.

Conversational Practice

To give participants a sense of what it's like to participate in Design-based PD, we'll present the group with a live design challenge from Philadelphia's Workshop School: rethinking graduation requirements. Working in groups, we'll formulate guiding questions and develop and share possible solutions. We'll conclude by reflecting on the learning that emerged from the design process, and reviewing concrete steps participants can take to bring Design-based PD to their own schools.

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