IB GrindStone: Inquiry for Educators
Leadership Project Proposal
By Christopher Palasz
Project Purpose – why are you doing this project?
As teachers of Language and Literature, we ask students to engage challenging topics while exhibiting traits from the IB Learner Profiles and to strive for growth in these areas. However, we ourselves enter the classroom with our own biases and opinions, and it can be easy to lose sight of the difficulties of being challenged to exhibit growth in areas of weakness. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to enable teachers of Language and Literature to reconnect with students by sharpening our minds through discussion of content similar to what we would introduce to our students. In doing so, we can become better teachers of our content and better models of what we hope to see in our students.
Project Objective – what you plan to achieve through this project?
A lasting platform that is professional and where teachers discuss issues and topics that may be introduced to our students is the primary achievement goal. A secondary achievement goal is to provide insight and inspiration that will allow teachers to form stronger connections with our students.
Project Impact – how will the project impact the students, faculty, the school’s mission, parents, and local community?
This project will impact teachers in order to impact students in the classroom, and that will in turn help the school and have a positive impact on parents and the local community. In the classroom, teachers can only challenge students in ways that we have knowledge, insight, and experiences. By connecting with IB Language and Literature teachers across the globe, we are effectively sharing our respective pools of knowledge, insight, and experiences. This allows us to practice professional replies to ideas, thoughts, and beliefs that we may find repulsive or offensive. The IB is an inclusive education and asks for growth in traits such as being principled, caring, open-minded, inquirers, thinkers, reflective, and balanced among others. From there, we bring these challenges into the classroom, practice, and can better prepare students when they seek to practice service in action.
Project Description – explain the project idea including who will be involved in implementing it and in what capacity. Be sure to include how the project idea aligns with the school’s mission, vision, and values.
I will create a Facebook group, develop a solid foundation of rules and guidelines for discussion and interaction, and promote discussion of global issues using content that we educators might use in our classrooms. At the moment, I will be the only person implementing this forum, however, I will ask my current DP Coordinator and a few other IB educators if they would like to help moderate.
The Vision and Mission of UISZ revolves around three words: Explore, Adapt, Impact. We hope to provide a forward thinking and globally minded community. The Facebook group achieves this because it unites IB educators from around the world and enables us to engage each other in challenging thought by asking questions and sharing experiences and perspectives. Our discussions and experiences in this group will likely be carried into our classrooms where we can challenge our students in new and meaningful ways.
Project Implementation Plan & Timeline – when during the school calendar year do you plan to implement this project and major milestones of the project? (Note that you will be implementing the project or a portion of it in the next few weeks)
The timeline for this project is very flexible, so I’m thankful for that. I could just implement this idea immediately, but I really want it to succeed, so I plan to implement it in steps.
- Investigate the process and information that Facebook requires for creating a new group. Plan the background photo, group name, group rules, and group description. Write it all out and prepare it.
- Prepare content to share and discuss for at least the first month to provide examples on the types of things that should be discussed.
- Ask around and find someone who is willing to join the group as a moderator early on. Even though the IB promotes open-mindedness and I will be targeting IB educators who should be more mature and responsible, my experience has already led to encounters with IB educators who do not display those qualities, so I need to plan and prepare for when discussions get out of hand.
- Ask relevant IB groups if they would mind my posting an invitation for IB educators in those groups to join. I think it will be okay, but it would be great to ask them since my invitation may not directly relate to the focus of that group.
- The final step is to implement the group. I anticipate that the entire process may take roughly two weeks and not longer.
Tools for Measuring Success – what success criteria will you use to measure the outcomes of this project?
Other IB groups on Facebook that have members in the demographic that I would want in my new group have between 1,600 – 3,600 people and the community is fairly helpful and active. To start with, I would hope to have a group with over 500 members in the first two weeks and over 1,000 members in the first month. Early on, I would post something to discuss each day and slowly retreat from that practice as more people added authentic discussion topics. After the first month, I would hope for 3 authentic content discussions per day which receive engagement from the group members.
If the members exceed 1,000 after the first month and the group gets authentic discussion posts that receive engagement from the group community, and if the discussions can be civil and polite, then this scenario will mean that this Leadership Project is a resounding success.