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As a first-year preschool teacher, I would wake up early one Saturday every month to attend a teaching workshop at a local college. Some of these workshops provided me with new activities and materials to use in my classroom. Others, however, left me wondering why I woke up so early and how I might incorporate the information into my classroom in meaningful ways. And I still found myself wanting help in the place I needed it most: my daily interactions with the children.

What I really needed was someone to help me observe, analyze, and improve my interactions and connect these interactions to children’s learning and development. Thankfully, researchers at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) at UVA's Curry School of Education and staff at Teachstone® have created coaching and coursework opportunities that provide more effective professional development for teachers.

What makes these opportunities so effective? Let’s look at this comparison of traditional professional development and the evidenced-based professional development offered at Teachstone.

What Research Says is Effective

Traditional PD Models

Teachstone Coaching and Coursework

Ongoing support for teachers Offered just once—one day or one week with no follow-up MyTeachingPartner™ Coaching (MTP) and Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) provide regular, intensive coaching or coursework offered from 6 to 10 months; other one-day trainings, such as Instructional Support Strategies offer ongoing engagement through other Coach Toolbox resources, such as the CLASS™ Discussion Toolkit
Based in teachers’ actual practice Teachers can gain information, but this is not related directly to practice Teachers videotape, observe, and discuss actual classroom interactions
Focused on teacher-child interactions which are the strongest predictor of child outcomes Often focused on the use of specific materials or activities rather than strategies that apply in multiple situations Focus is always on learning about and improving effective teacher-child interactions, regardless of curriculum or setting
Engages teachers in collaborative relationships Teachers attend occasional lectures and workshops given by a variety of people Teachers develop relationships with coaches and course instructors, making the process more individualized for the teachers’ needs


Teachstone’s MyTeachingPartner Coaching (MTP) and Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) programs are grounded in the research on effective professional development. These specific models have helped thousands of teachers make meaningful improvements in their classrooms.

How I wish I would have known about this when I started!

What about your work? What professional development models have you found to be effective and why?

Interested in learning more?

  • Register for one of our 2014 leadership webinars which focus on ways to help your organization improve teacher-child interactions.
  • Review the CLASS Implementation Guide for ideas on how to include the CLASS system in your professional development efforts.
  • Review the research that was used to create these professional development programs.

Webinar: I've Learned, I've Measured, Now What? Improve with MTP Coaching and CLASS-based PD