Building Knowledge



Lesson Plan Development



Burnout & 








Knowledge Building: Six Activities

The professional vitality of a school is boosted when educators create an active community of learning.  By exchanging knowledge with our colleagues we not only learn more about the business of teaching, we learn more about ourselves and the professionals with whom we work--we form affirming connections.

The process of sharing knowledge is the lifeblood of a vibrant professional environment.


  • To build knowledge sharing structures

  • To learn best practices from our colleagues

  • To forge professional connections through mutual learning

Activity One: Roundtables.  Enlist other colleagues in a professional roundtable that meets at scheduled times either before or after school.  These informal gatherings are designed to address, explore, and perhaps solve real job related issues or concerns.  Be certain that you first establish a set of roundtable norms or behavior guidelines so that the time is not spent complaining or focusing on the negative. 

Activity Two: Research Teams.  With a partner or small group of colleagues form a research team.  The purpose of this research team is to gather and then communicate data that can shape professional behavior.  It isn’t necessary to search for lofty, ethereal educational data, but rather seek to find concrete information about things like student attitudes, the community, parent needs and wants, etc.  In short, find data that is “close to home” and relevant to you.

Activity Three: Positive Sharing.  Select one or more colleagues who will agree to meet briefly once a week to share stories, examples, or events that are professionally positive.  It is amazing how a short positive “check in” with fellow teachers provides a professional boost, helps shape your attitude toward work, and contributes to the overall health of the work environment.

Activity Four: Reading Groups.  With another colleague(s) agree to read and discuss selected professional readings. Schedule your readings on a regular basis so that it becomes part of your professional routine.  Keep in mind that the readings do not have to be long—they just have to be thought provoking.  Some reading partnerships simply use selected quotes that “jump start” deeper thinking and professional communication.

Activity Five: Brain Picking.  On a regular basis “pick the brains” of fellow teachers who you admire.  Ask them to briefly tell you some things that they have learned about teaching well.  Be certain to record what you have learned and ask yourself how you can apply what they tell you to improve your own teaching.

Activity Six: Learning Goals.  Take an honest look at your own learning habits by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What does professionalism mean to me?

  2. Am I continually seeking new professional knowledge?

  3. How can I sustain my won love of learning?

  4. Do I work diligently to help shape a professional learning community?

Based on your answers, write one to three knowledge-building goals.  Be certain that your goals are crisp, measurable, and attainable.  Share your goals with a mentor and/or colleague.  Ask them for ideas to accomplish your on-the-job learning goals.

Professional Development Activities (Select a category listed below)






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