You’re the Expert: Professional LearningJuly 10, 2016
The Every Student Succeeds Act defines professional development as “sustained, (not stand-alone, 1-day, and short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, [and] classroom focused.” What is your vision for professional development under the new law?
In our latest edition of “Teacher Voices: You’re the Expert” we asked teachers: What is your vision for professional development under the new law?
We’ve curated a few of our favorite responses* below. Get involved in conversations like this by signing up to receive our bi-weekly newsletter!
Master teachers should be identified and given the tools to cultivate andragogy. We can do this by using teacher leadership frameworks to identify teachers and then providing job embedded supports for teacher-led professional learning that uses backwards design.
Meaningful and effective professional development should focus on teachers’ problem of practice. It begins with understanding what educators want to improve. Once that has been defined, teachers need time to observe students to collect data. How are they thinking and learning? And most importantly, teachers need time to reflect on what they heard and saw during observations. This should include a personal written reflection and a discussion with a safe collaborative group. This process keeps the group focused on student learning.
Intensive, job-embedded, and sustained professional development is vital to teachers who are implementing new standards in their state, and ESSA now has supported that idea in the new legislation. When implementing change such as an increased focus on informational text in the classroom, teachers need to have direction and resources to be effective and successful. With a lack of outside professional development that is research-based and fully aligned to CCSS, districts have found that the safest and most effective training comes when teachers and curriculum directors/mentors/content specialists collaborate to build the training. This type of professional development is not without obstacles, such as time to research and test strategies; however, teachers have better buy-in and clarity when the training is created in-house by teacher leaders and district experts. When an outside group comes in to provide training, this is often just as expensive and the sustained support is inconvenient or non-existent. In order to be as successful as possible, professional development must be data-driven and job-embedded so that teachers can see an instant impact in the classroom.
*Responses edited slightly for formatting, grammar, and spelling.