On Oct. 5th Season 8 of Cohort 21 launched. With over 80 educators in the room, all the ingredients for professional learning were on display: trust, big questions, empathy and laughter.

The goal of the first face-to-face is to create a strong level of trust and community within the cohort, including the 55 participants from 36 CIS Ontario schools, our 17 coaches, our 2 coaching mentors and our 5 fabulous facilitators. We used intentional groupings, engaging questions, and tasks to bring the groups together, share in experiences and tell their stories.

Season 8

How did we do?

Since 2011, when Cohort 21 was founded by Garth Nichols and Justin Medved, the number of participants have grown from under 20 to over 50. So too has the level of high touch structure through coaches and facilitators, and the leveraging of technology. We have built out the days to ensure a high level of touch points of support and checking in to ensure that everyone feels enough challenge and ample support.

After a full day of high energy moments, quiet moments of reflection and challenging tasks tackled by teams, it is our hope that everyone felt heard, valued and supported.

Sharing with the large group is just one way that we ask our participants to help create, step into and sustain a supportive foundation

What’s Next?

On November 16th, we meet for our second Face-to-Face. We are excited to see how this community of educators will step into the space created to share, be vulnerable with one another, listen generously and provide supportive feedback on the work that has been tasked to them.

To shift practice for relevance and impact in this day and age, our Season 8 participants have been tasked with the following:

Going directly to one’s students or to one’s colleagues (depending on the sphere of influence and impact) to share your work, your questions and your intent is being vulnerable. It also adds to the agency of all of those involved in the work. We’re excited to see how everyone is doing with this.

Helpful words for Season 8

  • Remember to start where you are at. Don’t accelerate the process, and be true to where you and your students/colleagues are
  • Remember to share out your challenges, frustrations and opportunities and success. Even the best of us can feel uncertain if we are asking the right questions to the right people. Cohort 21 is set up to be that sounding board, that feedback loop to support you
  • Lean on your coaches and facilitators – tweet at them, email them, comment on their blogs, whatever… they are there for you
  • This is just the end of the beginning – we aren’t rushing to a finish line

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