Project Overseas – Facillitations to Maximize Learner Engagement – Jenna O’Connor

Project Overseas – Facillitations to Maximize Learner Engagement
Jenna O’Connor – Churchill High

This fall, I was one of four teachers selected by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation to

participate in Project Overseas, facilitated by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. In July, I will

attend a training session in Ottawa, and travel to St. Kitts and Nevis with a team of three other

teachers, to provide professional development for the teachers in this developing country. The

professional development session I attended in Saskatoon, “Facilitations to Maximize learner

Engagement,” helped me to prepare for this international opportunity. The workshop was

facilitated by Rob Ligget and Margarat Pillay of the Saskatchewan Professional Development

Unit.

We began by observing the “Norms” which are based on the “Circle of Courage,” which explore

generosity, belonging, independence, and mastery. From there, participants were provided a clear,

detailed, and helpful-checklist for planning facilitations. In groups, we planned a mock

facilitation; my group’s work focus was the process of differentiated instruction.

After lunch, participants explored strategies for professional learning and questions to deepen

and increase learning. Finally, we finished the day investigating different technological tools

that can enhance facilitations and by sharing our best resources with one another.

Unfortunately, part of the presentation which would have allowed us to explore the differences

between Indigenous and Western Worldviews was omitted for the purpose of time.

This workshop was valuable on many levels. The content was easily applicable to the classroom

when focusing on the big themes, reminding teachers to consider the strategies that will inspire

meaningful learning in students. Learning how to facilitate for adults is valuable. I will use this

skill teach adults with other members of the CTF in the Caribbean and also when I share my

experiences with my colleagues at NATA’s Convention.

SPDU presentations are beneficial for teachers across saskatchewan. I am not sure if this

particular workshop would interest all teachers (unless they hope to facilitate); however, it

would be worthwhile to identify the specific workshops staff are interested in participating in.

SPDU members host a variety of workshops all over the province.