You’ve made it to the end of the Professional Development (PD) session. The facilitator asks you to think back on the session and take note of your golden nuggets and takeaways.
Now, this can be particularly helpful as you synthesize the different pieces and parts of the session. It helps to move the freshly obtained concepts from the hypothetical to the practical. From abstract to concrete.
Tools, templates, strategies, frameworks, tactics, logistics, and action items. That’s why we come to PD, right? We want to turnkey this. But should we question our motives as PD participants? As facilitators are we demeaning the value of our PD by asking participants to focus on takeaways? (I’m using “we” very intentionally here as I’m questioning my own motives and shifting my own beliefs and practices.)
I’m not questioning the pragmatism of PDs, but I am questioning, as a reflective learner, the perceived purpose of PD. After I facilitate a session, I most certainly want the participants to walk away with new learning that will influence their practice. But is this the most important and primary goal?
What I really hope is that participants will have a fundamental shift in their thinking. That shift in thinking will lead to new individualized outcomes that are far better than the outcomes/learning targets that I had in mind for participants. That’s what PD should do. Challenge strongly held beliefs, processes, and behaviors. Shift thinking.
If all you leave with are more tools for your tool belt, all I’ve done is equipped you only, and I have failed. I don’t decide your takeaways. I should be providing opportunities for you to create your own “shift-tos.”