Teacher professional development (PD) is often defined as, “structured professional learning that results in changes to teacher knowledge and practices, and improvements in student learning outcomes" (Darling-Hammond, Hyler & Gardner). Research has illustrated that teacher competency and skill is directly correlated to student achievement. Policy makers, educators, parents, and students alike, all have a vested interest in identifying the central aspects of effective teacher PD to enhance student outcomes.
When I first started working at Teachstone, I had the pleasure of supporting a group of MyTeachingPartner coaches working in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Now, let me tell you, this was no ordinary group of coaches and I knew it as soon as I was greeted at the airport. Within the first ten minutes of meeting Paula Polito, my suspicion was confirmed.
Ellen Cairns presents on the parallel process with Curry Ander at InterAct 2017 in Austin, TX.
Recently, at the InterAct conference in Austin, we presented the parallel process of CLASS in 50 incredibly fast minutes. We had fun putting together a presentation that was interactive and that modeled as many of the dimensions, indicators, and behavioral markers as we could. In fact, we gave the participants a score sheet so they could rate us—a take off on the CLASS score sheet.
"I’ve just begun my journey into the world of coaching. I am eager and excited about this opportunity to help pave the way for more effective teaching. I’ve recently been given my list of classrooms that I will be working with and I’m anxious to get started. I get ready to meet my first teacher, Ms. Linda, and I just know that she will be excited to meet me and we will form an instant bond and work together for the benefit of the children in that classroom.
"I will not get many opportunities to have face to face visits with Ms. Linda, so I know this first one is crucial. I walk through the door, introduce myself, and am immediately brushed off. Ms. Linda does not have time to talk to me right now, she explains that several children need her assistance. She’s also got to get the morning snack ready, and her assistant is out for the day so she is flying solo. Ms. Linda does not seem as excited about this meeting as I would have hoped.
"She quickly shares that I’m the third coach that has been in to work with her, and although she knows that I have to do my job, she’s fine and really doesn’t see how I can help her. A CLASS observer was in her room last week, and she doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She’s been teaching for over 10 years and she’s tried it all. So, anything I have to share with her is stuff she’s already heard."
If you’re a Teachstone blog-reader, you may have noticed that we focus on being “strengths-based” instructional coaching all the time. But sometimes it’s equally healthy to reflect on the stuff that didn’t go so well so we can avoid it next time. (By the way, if you’re looking for something purely strengths-based, Gina Gates recently wrote this fantastic post for the myTeachstone blog on ways to support resistant teachers using an online platform.)
This post is about what not to do. These are the seven deadly sins of taking teacher learning online:
Regardless of how you voted in the recent election, it’s fair to say the results revealed deep differences in how Americans view the economy and their place in it.
A quick look at the numbers suggests overall job growth and lower unemployment since 2008’s recession. But taking a closer look, the jobs that did increase were either low-paying/low-skill OR required a college degree which is increasingly difficult to afford.
At our 2016 InterAct CLASS Summit, we asked a group of educators to share their biggest difficulties in implementing professional development within their organizations. Despite the group’s diverse backgrounds, they reported similar challenges:
Uneven teacher skill sets
Planning and logistics
We're excited to introduce the third post in ourfour-post series discussing strategies to help with these common challenges.
As a former teacher, teacher leader, and teacher educator, I understand at my core the tremendous impact that a high-quality teacher can have on the lives of children and their families. But, I also know the deep feelings of frustration we often feel as teachers and leaders when we just cannot figure out to connect with, how to motivate, how to engage with those children within our classrooms that we are desperately trying to reach but just fail to figure out.
At our recent 2016 InterAct CLASS Summit, we asked a group of educators to share their biggest difficulties in implementing professional development within their organizations. Despite the group’s diverse backgrounds, they reported similar challenges:
Uneven teacher skill sets
Planning and logistics
We're excited to introduce the next post in our four-post series discussing strategies to help with these common challenges.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: AN INVESTMENT IN OUR TEACHERS
As a former teacher and teacher educator, I deeply understand the tremendous impact that a high-quality teacher can have on the lives of children and their families. But I also understand how difficult the job of teaching can be every hour of every day of every week of every year. So many teachers enter and stay in the classroom without the ongoing professional development they need to stay current with research and strategies that can help them perform their craft to its fullest potential. Even those who are provided professional development by their school district or program often experience stale, “one and done” workshops that are not integrated into a larger learning curriculum and that are, at best, dry and uninspiring.