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Cohort 21 - Season 8


Justin Medved



Classroom Teachers



Transformation Element:


"High-impact professional learning requires a community. But not just any type of community. In his blog hosted on “Cult of Pedagogy,” entitled “Is your PLC a Farce” Chase Mielke writes “It’s not a PLC just because we are sitting together in a group.” No, proximity is not enough, neither is frequency of sitting together. We must come together with a purpose. Cohort 21 has just completed the second face-to-face in November in it’s eight season as one of CIS Ontario’s professional learning communities. While each participant is there for a different purpose, they are all there to challenge themselves and refine some aspect of their practice. Whether they are a classroom teacher, a specialist elementary teacher, or an AP Physics teacher, they know why they have come to Cohort 21. In November, 2019, Edutopia published an article entitled “Collaborative Learning for Educators”, and in it, the authors write, “ Imagine the synergy created among teachers and school leaders as they work to establish goals centered around improving instructional practice—not as a solo act but as a socially constructed collaborative. Collectively, we crave thought partners, individuals who both push our thinking and hold us accountable for progress.” This is what Cohort is all about. However, what you may not know about Cohort 21, is that part of being this community isn’t just about reflecting and connecting, it is also about contributing. Participants contribute to the collective knowledge-base and learning in three key ways: Their blog: there are two approaches that we take to blogging. One is that the blog is a showcase of learning, and the other is that the blog is a on-going portfolio of thinking and growth. Participants can choose which approach best suits them. These blogs are published between the face-to-face sessions and are accessible on our main page: Twitter Chats: at regular intervals Cohort 21 coaches and participants host twitter chats that engage participants with provocative questions about their Cohort 21 experience, their craft of teaching, and other topics. You can follow these chats on #cohort21 Their Action Plan: each participant is on a journey that begins with inquiry, empathy and their own professional context. In our second face-to-face, participants spend time reflecting and exploring big, hairy, audacious questions about challenges that they are wrestling with. Through design thinking protocols, they develop a design question formed through a “How Might We…” statement. You can view the action plans of the last 8 years on our website: Contribution to the landscape of CIS Ontario education is at the core of what Cohort 21 does. To do this successfully, they ensure that participants feel known, valued and connected. through a heavily layered approach of support. From the over 50 participants, 5 intentional groups are created. Each group is curated by 5 incredible facilitators and further supported by 15 dynamic coaches. Cohort 21 has a mantra: “This is the end of the beginning” and this is referencing the journey that these educators have embarked upon. What we like to reference is the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” "

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