3CSN’s Design Principles for Powerful Professional Learning: Praxis

Praxis is a core principle of 3CSN’s approach to professional learning. Praxis means engaging in a process of reflection, learning, and action in order to transform our classrooms, colleges, and communities. 

1. Provide space for participants to reflect upon and apply their learning in community with other practitioners.

We design 3CSN events to always include opportunities for participants to reflect and learn together. In online 60- and 90-minute Wayfinding sessions, knowledge building is partnered with reflection activities in order to value participant expertise and experience and invite them into new learning from wherever they are in their process. In the 4-part Wayfinding online series Design Labs, reflection is interwoven throughout the learning. For example, participants in the “We Can Do This” Design Lab reflected on their personal learning history and their core motivation for teaching before building knowledge on backward design principles. One of the
participants said, “I want to learn how to design better assessments -ones that actually support learning”. 

Building and applying knowledge after reflection helps practitioners to leverage what they know and mindfully enter into new knowledge and ways of thinking. Praxis is a learning journey in pursuit of transformation: a brave goal for any learner!

2. Invite participants to plan next steps for change on their campuses.

Learners who reflect, build, and apply knowledge can begin to see the potential for transformation in their work. 3CSN intentionally creates opportunities for practitioners to translate this potential into tangible next steps for their campuses. During the knowledge building on backward design, a participant wrote, “The difference in order is significant: Plan the assessment first, then plan only lessons that will contribute to student success on that assessment”. Another participant commented that “I have a much clearer understanding of how to DO the first steps of backward design. I had learned about it conceptually, but the Fink article
has very clear guiding questions, and I am excited to use them this week to think about my Fall preps”.

3. Offer opportunities to continue this work with fellow practitioners on their campuses, in their regions, and across the state.

At 3CSN, we discuss and model praxis as an “ongoing process”, and as a practitioner-based organization, we are actively involved in transformation work on our campuses and in ourselves while we support transformation work for the Community College System. When we model an ongoing commitment to reflection, knowledge building, and application for system transformation in our sessions, we are authentically sharing in the experience of the work all of us are in together. This shared experience makes us stronger (even when the challenges are steep) and renews our commitment to students, their futures, and our communities.

In the “Civic Engagement” Design Lab series, one participant stated, “Thank you for forcing us to think about what kind of things we can implement in the classroom.  I’ve been thinking about partnering up with an immigration lawyer for the longest time, but I never really set anything up.  This is only going to be one option for my students.  It’s definitely forcing me to think of what other options I can give my students to get more involved and put context into statistics/math”

4. Participants become facilitators of change, building capacity on their campuses and enriching 3CSN’s network.

3CSN believes transformation occurs through knowledge and relationship building, and it is the learning community, our 3CSN network, that sustains us all in times of growth and challenge. Our participants: our local, regional, and statewide colleagues and students are the facilitators of change for our System. Our students are the reason we are committed to transformation; praxis is
the process through which we transform.