This past year, I learned of Cohort 21 from a teacher at my school. The ideas that he was bringing to the classroom were unique and creative. It was inspiring to see the work that was being done through collaboration between multiple people across the province at the Cohort 21 conferences and on Google Hangout. Near the end of the year, I attended the GLACIE conference in Toronto and learned again that cooperative and collaborative learning fosters deep engagement within my colleagues and students. Last year was my ‘Ah ha’ moment in professional development and teaching. It was the first time I saw just how important and meaningful collaboration really is and I have since reflected and changed the ways I learn and teach.
I am lucky to work with a fairly supportive and collaborative staff as well. I collaborate daily with my co-teacher and others who are teaching the same course. It has enriched my lessons, motivated me, and my students are benefiting resulting in better achievement and learning. I am looking forward to this year at Cohort 21 as it is a truly unique professional development opportunity for teachers who are seeking to build a learning network amongst staff and other CIS Ontario member schools. The Cohort 21 community is built on a foundation of collaboration and innovation and we will investigate and refine 21st century teaching and learning best practices through the rich experience of “learning by doing”.