Sharing Best Practice: Why it’s great and how to make it happen!
Sharing best practice is an excellent idea to base a session of Professional Development around. If you haven’t tried it in your team before here are a few reasons why you should.
1. It is developed and led by people in the field. The department head can lead the way, and everyone has a relevant experience to share.
2. You can promote what your department is doing well at. Invite your manager to pop in and see all the great achievements you have to celebrate.
3. It’s free! In our world of shrinking budgets and rising prices let’s be honest it’s nice to get the training you need for free. All you need are some willing volunteers and a friendly audience and your session is set to inspire people.
4. It distracts from any negatives that your team might be feeling. Instead of saying ‘we all need to do X better (because we don’t do it well enough)’ you are saying ‘let’s share how we deal with the tricky problem of X’. You are still addressing the problem, but your audience is automatically part of the solution.
5. You can use it to create relationships with your neighbours (see ‘how to make it happen’ below) and also show off how great your education department is!
So, you know you want to set up a Sharing Best Practice session for your team, the question here is how to make it happen?
1. Invite people from other organisations with education departments. These events are always more fun when you have more people involved. Skills are usually transferable and you will probably find a new way of thinking about a problem that you haven’t previously.
2. Pick a topic to share around. This could be sessions you run for teenagers, or adult engagement.
3. Make it a ‘Challenge by Choice’ event. Invite attendees to bring examples or experiences to share. Lead the way with your own example and people will volunteer theirs as well. You could break away into smaller groups if there is too much pressure to present their ideas to everyone.
4. Invite specialists to speak. Contact professionals you know are good at you chosen topic, maybe people you have worked with, and ask them to join you for the session.
5. Ask attendees to say a couple of ideas that they plan on implementing back at work. This helps them focus the mind and shows you how much they are taking away from the session.
What if you are the department and don’t have a team?
Well, the good news is that there is still a lot you can do. To start with you could host your own event, invite people from nearby venues who you want to work with and start sharing your ideas. Alternatively you could hop online and join my free supportive Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/ExceptionalMuseumEducatorsClub/.