By Cathy Gassenheimer
Executive Vice President
Alabama Best Practices Center
Are you up for a book club–style activity this summer? One where you can earn professional learning credit?
For the ABPC’s first-ever online book study, we’re trying something different — something interactive where you and others who participate will connect both synchronously and asynchronously. And, we’ve selected a really engaging book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, by Wharton professor and TED Talk presenter Adam Grant.
Think back to a time when you were in school. Specifically call to mind a class you found to be particularly boring. Most likely, this is what you heard from the teacher: “Read the chapter and answer the questions at the end.”
Sitting in straight rows, you reluctantly complied. You could hear a pin drop in the room as everyone read the chapter. Later, you could hear the scraping of pens or pencils on paper as you and your fellow students tried to respond to the questions posed. The hour passed slowly and you dreaded returning to the same routine the next day.
When I first thought about creating an online book study, I worried about it being similar to what I’ve just described. I’ve experienced flat book studies, where I was expected to read loads of text and respond to prompts, but it was just me and the text. Not very engaging or interesting. To be honest, I didn’t finish one course because I found it such a waste of time.
We’re not going to do it that way!
Since we’re launching our first-ever book study in the summer, we wanted to select something that might be a bit lighter and fun to read. You can read more about Think Again and why I think it’s such a good choice in this recent blog post.
While it isn’t solely focused on education, there are ideas and tips that educators will find useful throughout the book, and we’ll be making those cross-connections as we go! I think you’ll be particularly interested in the motivational interviewing section, which is very similar to cognitive coaching.
How the Book Study Will Work
The book study will take place during the month of July. We’ve chunked the book into three parts. As you read the book, you’ll engage with others asynchronously where you’ll view and respond to one of Adam Grant’s engaging Ted Talks – or comment and view the comments of others using Jamboard.
After each asynchronous experience, you’ll be invited to participate in a one-hour live book talk. Each of these three live sessions will focus on the portion of the book you’ve just finished reading and give you the opportunity to discuss the content in breakout groups with fellow participating Alabama educators. If you miss a live session, you will have access to an archive.
You’ll also be asked to create a quick project based on something you found particularly interesting. You can choose to do one of the 30 different “Actions for Impact” that appear in the book’s Epilogue, or you can create your own idea.
Reasonably Priced with an ACLD-Approved PLU!
The cost per participant will be $100. Upon completion of the book study, you’ll receive an ACLD-Approved Professional Learning Unit. I’m confident the experience won’t remind you of a boring class from the past, but instead will cause you to “think again” about online book studies and carry Adam Grant’s stimulating insights forward into your work in the coming school year.