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We tried something new — and it was a success!

Friday, November 18, 2022 7:27 AM | Iris Eichenlaub (Administrator)

On October 27th, MASL tried something new with a Dine and Discuss format for professional development, with the support of several partner organizations — the Maine Council for English Language Arts (MCELA), Maine County and State Teachers of the Year Association (MCSTOYA), and Educate Maine.

We hosted a dynamic and inspirational speaker, Lawrence Alexander, who presented virtually to 8 locations around the state. At each location, a host librarian or teacher facilitated refreshments (with the help of a small stipend from MASL), viewing Mr. Alexander, and discussion afterwards. We were hopeful that this format for professional learning would be fruitful because it would allow us to enjoy the benefits of an in-person experience without requiring people to travel great distances. We also hoped that this event would help to develop connections among educators that would be lasting and inspire further collaboration. 

Responses such as these suggest that we're onto a good idea:

“I loved the opportunity to connect with other librarians and look forward to more conversation in the future!”

“Thank you for allowing non-librarians to join in!”

“It was my first time attending a Dine and Discuss. It was informative, welcoming, intimate, and inspirational. I hope to do more in the future. Thank you!”

“...appreciate how it allows people from all of Maine to participate!”

Mr. Alexander spoke for about an hour and we all took notes furiously as he shared a great deal of useful information and thought-provoking questions. One participant said: “I thought the presentation was insightful, thought-provoking, and an important prompt for school librarians, as well as other teachers, to start thinking about how we make active choices to include and equitably celebrate all of our students in schools”

Another added, “Lawrence was a great presenter. I have attended many, many DEI-focused talks and workshops and I still took away new information this time. I like how he framed things in a different way than a lot of other workshops (more action-oriented). I loved the prompting questions on the ‘Moment of Reflection’ slide (I'm still sitting with the ‘Will you protect me?’ question) and the monoculture/multicultural slide especially. Thanks for a great presentation!”

After the presentation, the 77 librarians and other educators around the state took a break to enjoy some snacks (everything from pizza to homemade tacos were enjoyed), and then gathered together again to engage in some activities and discussion questions that MASL provided. As one participant said, “It was a great evening. Our discussion could have gone on for days after! Such important information.”

If you missed it, or wish to revisit the content, the slide deck from the presentation can be accessed here. And if you’re a MASL member, you can access the recorded presentation on the members only section of our website.

~ Heather Perkinson, MASL President




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