In the spirit of the educational disruption, after gaining class time with flipped learning, I decided to give the Google 20% project a try in my physics and Scientific Research and Design classes. I was intrigued by the idea that students would embrace the idea of learning for the sake of learning, not grades, not compliance, but their choice of learning. Over the course of five years, 95% of the students embraced the idea and ran with it. Only a few accomplished nothing. Those that took advantage did some amazing things. (Classroom Benefits of the 20% Project)
Now I am an instructional coach and help teachers design lessons, analyze data, reflect, create interventions, and integrate technology. I occurred to me that a similar, but scaled down idea could be amazing for teachers. How wonderful would it be to have teachers re-discover value in the learning process again. Experiencing for themselves modeling research, questioning, recording results and ideas, and communicating with others. Having a reminder of what it is like to purposefully learn something could give insight on some of the struggles and opportunities students face today. It can also show that learning goes beyond the defined objectives.
It would be unreasonable to ask already overwhelmed teachers to set everything aside every Friday, or for one hour each day and learn what they wish to learn. But, it could be energizing to have the opportunity to do so once or twice each month. While many would choose something that would apply to the classroom, would it be a problem if a physics teacher decided to learn to play the trombone?