Action for Teachers of Refugees

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Action For Teachers of Refugees


PEER-SOURCE OPEN: Platforms for Providing Professional Learning and Knowledge Sharing: Add Yours, Review and Comment on others

Dr. Woolis Keynote Presentation, No Lost Generation, Amman Jordon, March 2017 >>


Many organizations in the United States and around the world are designing effective content and curriculum for teachers of refugees in a range of settings- from camps, to college campuses, to classrooms and online, on a range of topics from math to English to arts and humanities as well as social-emotional support for students. As a group, we are universally challenged by how best to “teach-the-teachers” – how to engage, prepare, assess, certify and support them.

Many people are doing good work, solving hard problems, and generating evidenced based approaches to practice. We need to connect the dots between our related but often isolated efforts. We all cannot be experts in everything but we can draw on, to great effect, the expertise of others.  It is impractical, if not impossible, to bring us together face-to-face, particularly in a timely way and there is a dire need to take quick but coordinated action. That is why we are sponsoring this open online event.

The Center for Learning in Practice seeks to contribute to addressing this situation by codifying ways in which continuous learning for teachers/educators and practitioners, real time data about teaching practice, and valuable feedback can be provided to teachers regardless of context and with fidelity. We seek to do so in community and in dialogue with educators and practitioners and help build a knowledge network among us.

Action for Teachers of Refugees is our way to begin this work.

In Action for Teachers of Refugees we are especially focused on UN Sustainability Goal to “Substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers” and the INEE recommendations regarding: Standards For Teacher Professional Development; Promoting Teacher Collaboration; Providing Teachers With Ongoing Support; and Using ICT To Provide Access To Professional Learning Communities



Below you will find information about the purpose and structure of this online event- a text-based exchange that will enable us to “massively” surface practice challenges and opportunities in designing the teaching-of-teachers of refugees.

To get you in the frame of mind of what we are trying to do in this event, below is a clip from the movie Apollo 13. Think about what a parallel video for teaching-teachers of refugees would look like (it would be great to make one!). As you watch (it’s about a minute clip), imagine that all the participants online are in a room and together we are trying to accelerate a response to the global crisis in teaching-teachers of refugees. Every participant at “the table” comes with valuable knowledge, experience, and questions. Your job is to use yours to surface theirs.




Massively open-sourcing our collective intelligence about professional learning practices that facilitate effective teaching of teachers including: Challenges and opportunities; solutions and failed experiments; development and delivery; platforms and technologies; standards and assessments.


  1. The number of registrants exceeds 300 people.
  2. The number of participants- those who post, comment, “like”, share, tweet, or take other actions exceeds 20% of those who log-in.
  3. At least one community of practice-in-action or pilot project is formulated and members identified
  4. At least 5% of participants post a resource in a forum or post a submission in the Peer-Source
  5. Participants indicate they have found the exchange valuable in an after- action-review (survey).
  6. Teachers around the world weigh-in on the draft Signature Pedagogy For Teachers of Refugees
  7. Action items for individuals and organizations are surfaced.



PEER-SOURCE: A form of crowd-sourcing that asks contributors to share specific experience on a subject and how they do (or will) measure success, impact, outcome

Peer-Sourcing enables organizations to promote their work and needs; help prevent reinventing the wheel; foster a shared vision; and facilitates collaborative problem solving.

In Action for Teachers of Refugees we have two Peer-Source events:

• Platforms for Providing Professional Learning and Knowledge Sharing: Add yours, review and comment on others.

• A Signature Pedagogy for Teachers of Refugees: Review and feedback on a model of the types of teaching that organize the fundamental ways in which teachers of refugees are educated to teach.

FORUM: A series of discussions that open and close every two hours and are hosted by guest Discussion Hosts. 

Each two hour session begins with introductions of the Discussion Hosts and closes, in the final 15 minutes, with the sharing of “take-aways” from the conversation. Posting in that session closes promptly at the appointed time so that the next 2 hour session can begin.

Each host brings experience and expertise in a particular Sustainable Learning Pillar of Practice.  Their job is to catalyze the conversation, ask questions, and help synthesize what they are hearing.  Several Discussion Hosts participate in each two hour session to help focus on the opportunities at the intersection of our collective enterprises.

Your job as a participant is to share your experience and expertise, ask questions, and help assure that the voices of your network are represented in the conversation.


Using the Practice Lab effectively involves sequenced steps, deigned with and for faculty, that bring participants together to examine and reflect on their underlying work methodology, understand it more closely and clearly, and use that understanding to improve their performance and outcome measures.

Most professional development is content or curriculum centric- addressing the “what” of professional practice. We know that content is a necessary but not sufficient strategy to effect changes in performance and skill mastery.  At the Center for Learning in Practice we are focused on the “how” of effective professional learning – the sustained (not stand-alone or short term workshops), intensive, scaffolded, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven processes that assures successful implementation of new material and new content.

In the learning profession we typically lack a structured progression from novice to expert.  Little is provided to support the novice that enables them to reflect on their practice and develop their skills, with guidance from peers, coaches, or mentors.  The same is true of the expert seeking to master to concepts or content.

The Practice Lab is a technology that was developed to address this challenge. It was designed with and for teachers over four years in a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and LaGuardia Community College.  More information about the project and process can be found at:


Go to our Social Learning Site to participate.

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