Re-thinking learning for the 21st Century

Where I’ve Come From and Where I’m Going Next

It feels strange to reflect on the end of Cohort 21 while I am on March Break and still feel squarely in the middle of my action plan; however, the school calendar waits for no one, so here we are.

Cohort 21 became part of my teaching journey at the exact moment when I most needed it. I was beginning to feel disheartened, fearful of change, and generally a bit down on myself as a teacher. This year, I’ve learned that I’m probably doing better than I think I am. This feels ridiculous to type, but I believe it’s an important lesson. I’ve learned that there is power when diverse educators come together, reflect deeply, and open their doors. The support I’ve sought and the encouragement I’ve received from C21, my administration, my colleagues, and even teachers outside of CIS has been invaluable in helping me rediscover my love for teaching French as a second language. I feel inspired, excited, and grateful to have discovered an experience and group of people so positive and so action-driven to best support educators, students, and our shared future learning.

Below is a slide deck that illustrates my action plan story, as it stands right now. I now truly understand the term “the end of the beginning.” I’m excited about the new energy in my classroom, and I can’t wait to experiment further with these ideas.

Additionally, you can hear me “thinking out loud” about my How Might We question and action plan on @ckirsh‘s Teaching Tomorrow podcast here.

As for Cohort 21, this is not goodbye. I am looking forward to our fourth Face to Face session in a few weeks, and I’m hopeful to continue working with Cohort 21 next year (even if I have to sneak in!)




  1. Garth Nichols

    Jennifer, this is so great to read. From a post about a “hot mess” to this! Wow, that March Break did wonders 😉

    Thanks for getting this post up there and for continuing your striving towards your How Might We… It’s inspirational to read!

    See you soon,

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Hi Garth, I still absolutely still feel “messy” in my learning, but after a day of curriculum planning and consolidating many new ideas floating in my head with a colleague, I feel somewhat more settled.
      Thank you for all of your encouragement this year. It has meant so much.

  2. Allison Campbell-Rogers

    What a thoughtful, forward thinking summary of your experience in Cohort21 this year! I love your approach to the future; how you are consciously seeking to improve your own skills as well as your approach to engaging your students in french language learning; this is excellent role modelling!
    It has been a pleasure to get to know you this year!

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Thanks, Allison! I’m so grateful to have had you in my Cohort 21 group!
      See you soon,

  3. Jennifer Weening

    @jbairos – I haven’t commented often on your blogs but know that they have all been read and appreciated! This is a great summary of your journey so far and it looks like you have clearly embraced the idea of the 4th F2F representing only the end of the beginning. Although I’m not responsible for the “hiring”, I’d say you’d make an excellent C21 coach, based on the reflections I’ve read from you in this space and the enthusiasm with which you embraced the C21 experience. See you in April!

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Thanks, Jen! That means a lot 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing where everyone is at after a year of diving deep.
      See you soon!

  4. Allison Macrae

    I love how you have made use of so many different resources that were presented at C21. It would be amazing to hear about how you connected with Richard Smith from the podcast. Maybe write another blog post about that!

    Great job embracing the idea that we can always improve and that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing a great job today!

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Thanks, Allison!
      I’m absolutely planning on writing a post about what I learned from Richard soon. I wanted to be sure to get my C21 “homework” finished before April 😉
      I loved hearing the podcast episode about your action plan last year. What a fantastic, important project!

  5. Justin Medved

    @jbairos What a wonderful reflection! It’s ok to feel like you are just getting started. That is what the process of continuous improvement feels like 🙂

    Take a look at we are using it successfully with our FSL students (chromebooks and macbooks) to capture evidence of fluency, language progression over time or just quick one off evidence to share with parents or one another. It has been a game changer. Happy to chat more.


    • Jennifer Bairos

      Hi Justin,
      It’s so interesting that you mention Screencastify because Emma and I just decided before the break to redesign one of our culminating tasks using Screencastify this term. I’m excited to try it out!

      • Justin Medved

        We love it at York and now make it a standard app for teachers and staff (whole school)
        Also look at Explain Everyrthing for Chrome – Its awesome as well and dones great audio capture –


  6. Graham Vogt

    Amazing @jbairos, and I sense you’ve realized that it’s never goodbye with Cohort 21. There is no sadness at the final F2F (well, maybe a little), as we are excited to keep finding action supported by a vibrant community of educators. Thank you so much for opening up your journey to all of us. You have provided an inspiring reminder of the power of being brave enough to truly open up to the cohort magic.

    @mneale @ashaikh

    • Jennifer Bairos

      Thank you Graham! I have loved connecting with everyone this year. It has been so inspiring. See you next week!

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