The sessions can be presented in whatever order you like, and different sites have presented them in different orders. But it’s important to be thoughtful in making the decision, because when trying to inspire instructors to improve their practice, it’s a good idea to tread carefully. Some instructors, especially those who have been teaching for a while, can be resistant to new ideas and change. You want them to be excited, and to want more after a professional learning session.
There are some commonalities among the sessions that tend to be best to start with-they take place largely outdoors, and they’re less complex and heady, which makes them initially more accessible to instructors. Making Observations is often successfully used to kick off BEETLES trainings. It’s not too heady, appeals to core values commonly held by field instructors (connecting students with nature), doesn’t push too hard on sensitive issues, and provides instructors with simple and effective tools for engaging students with nature. For many instructors, the experience is transformative for their practice. Field Journaling with Students is also a very practical and popular early session, but is only relevant if it’s possible to include journals in your program. Questioning Strategies gives instructors practical strategies for engaging students in discourse, and is another session that’s good early on. Teaching & Learning is best introduced somewhat early on, because, though complex, it’s sooo crucial to curriculum design- but it’s useful for your instructors to have some experience leading BEETLES student activities before the session. Sessions that are ideally led later in a sequence of sessions include: the two content sessions, Matter & Energy in Ecosystems (coming soon!), Adaptation & Evolution (coming soon!), because they are pretty heady and are conducted primarily indoors. Constructing Understanding ties a lot of our pedagogy together, but is pretty heady, too, and is best used after a few other sessions.