I’ve met some of my best friends during CFG Coaches’ Training in February.
We know it can be hard to slip out of the classroom during the academic year for professional development and that most schools do the majority of their PD during the summers.
But wouldn’t it be great to pick up super-valuable PD experiences in the quieter time after the flurry of Thanksgiving-to-New Year’s excitement, and then free up a week to lounge poolside during June and July?
Two or three times a year, in Bloomington we conduct open trainings so that any individual from anywhere can join a diverse cohort to become a certified Critical Friends Group coach. Our winter open training begins February 3-5, and the last two days of training will be scheduled at the convenience of those attending. That is, we don’t tell you when you have to return for those last two days, you tell us when you want to come back. (The last two days typically happen in March or April so the group doesn’t lose too much momentum. If the date selected by the majority doesn’t work for you, you have a credit with us to complete your last two days later with another cohort at another time.)
What’s a “CFG,” anyway?
Not “just another meeting,” each Critical Friends Group gathering focuses on improving or resolving dilemmas and tangible work products brought by the participants. Rather than working in isolation, CFG participants enjoy the combined wisdom and commitment of the whole group toward resolving problems. The end result is shared community, increased trust, improved school culture, focused problem-solving, and everyone helping everyone else become a better educator over time. Research shows that a well-working CFG culture helps schools retain their teaching staff and supports their teachers in continuous improvement.
Advantages of attending an “open” training
1) A wide variety of participants provides more diverse perspectives and wisdom to help you resolve the dilemmas and work problems you present at the training. Since you’ll be bringing your dilemmas, work, and perspectives to a group including people from several other organizations, you’ll be hearing perspectives you likely have never heard or thought of before.
2) If you or a small group from your school may wish to “start small,” or try CFG work for yourselves before engaging their full staff, Open Trainings can get you started with a minimum investment. Bringing training to your school or district is really only cost effective if you have 10-15 (or more) people ready to be trained. If you’re testing the waters,
Open Trainings uniquely provide opportunities for meaningful interactions with a plethora of education professionals outside your workplace. Educators attend from across the country and around the world, from all sorts of educational institutions and levels of learning: PreK-12 or beyond, independent schools, public schools, universities, seminaries, etc. Participants may be classroom teachers or professors, or have other roles such as HR director, school administrator, or even business people or government employees.
That’s right, you do bring work
Rather than a “sit-and-get” training, all CFG Coaches’ Trainings are designed for a maximum of 15 attendees, and every person brings in a dilemma they face as well as some work artifact or idea that you need help with.
This work isn’t theoretical, nor is it set around “theoretical examples.” Instead, from the beginning, we learn about each other and after we’ve built some trust, one brave person brings content to be “fine-tuned” in a Tuning Protocol, and everyone experiences what NSRF protocols and CFG work is all about. Once that ice is broken, each attendee gets to receive help on a problem, and then leave the training with actual next steps towards resolving it (or at least seeing it in new ways to make the situation better).
And if you have some spare time to spend with us…
Winter in Bloomington can be quite lovely! Regardless of the weather, there’s always plenty to do here in your off hours, according to Visit Bloomington. We’re also home to Indiana University, Indiana’s “public Ivy” school where cultural and sports events draw thousands of fans. And there are dozens of excellent, unique restaurants within walking distance of the training venue, and the Tibetan Mongolian Cultural Center a short drive away (visit the Dalai Lama’s Bloomington home) … and we could go on, but we’ll stop here.