Manual Planning for educational change: putting people and their contexts first

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Personal Vision-Building
  1. Innovation in education: what works, what doesn’t, and what to do about it?
  2. Putting people and their contexts first
  3. Effective Teacher Professional Development
  4. Struggling for Change in Chilean EFL Teacher Education

Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10 2 , — Active learning provides teachers with opportunities to get hands-on experience designing and practicing new teaching strategies. In PD models featuring active learning, teachers often participate in the same style of learning they are designing for their students, using real examples of curriculum, student work, and instruction. For example, Reading Apprenticeship is an inquiry-based PD model designed to help high school biology teachers integrate literacy and biology instruction in their classrooms.

Working together, teachers study student work, videotape classroom lessons for analysis, and scrutinize texts to identify potential literacy challenges to learners. Reflection and other metacognitive routines such as think-alouds and reading logs for science investigations are also used in PD sessions.

Innovation in education: what works, what doesn’t, and what to do about it?

Greenleaf, C. Integrating literacy and science in biology: Teaching and learning impacts of reading apprenticeship professional development. American Educational Research Journal, 48 3 , — They also received instruction in strategies for teaching English language learners. Students who received enhanced instructional activities and whose teachers received PD demonstrated significantly higher science and reading achievement than students who were engaged in business-as-usual instruction.

Lara-Alecio, R. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49 8 , — By focusing on improving the practice of teachers of English language learners, this kind of collaborative, districtwide PD can have important implications for improving the equity of whole systems. Curricular models and modeling of instruction provide teachers with a clear vision of what best practices look like. Teachers may view models that include lesson plans, unit plans, sample student work, observations of peer teachers, and video or written cases of accomplished teaching.

For example, in a program used across a number of states, PD focused on the types of pedagogical content knowledge teachers need to effectively teach elementary science. Curricular and instructional models were used in multiple ways to support teacher learning. For example, one group of teachers analyzed teaching cases drawn from actual classrooms and written by teachers.

Another set of teachers worked in carefully structured, collaborative groups to analyze examples of student work from a shared unit taught in their own classrooms. A third group used metacognitive strategies to reflect on their instruction and its outcomes. In a randomized experimental study, students of teachers who participated in any of these PD opportunities had significantly greater learning gains on science tests than students whose teachers did not participate, and these effects were maintained a year later.

Heller, J. Differential effects of three professional development models on teacher knowledge and student achievement in elementary science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49 3 , — Experts may share their specialized knowledge as one-on-one coaches in the classroom, as facilitators of group workshops, or as remote mentors using technology to communicate with educators.

Putting people and their contexts first

They may include master teachers or coaches based in universities or professional development organizations. In one coaching initiative designed to enhance early literacy instruction among Head Start teachers, educators participated in biweekly sessions with a university-based literacy coach following a two-day orientation that introduced them to the literacy concepts.

  • Simulation Methods for ESD Protection Development.
  • Scientific Materialism in Nineteenth Century Germany (Studies in the History of Modern Science);
  • Logical investigative methods : critical thinking and reasoning for successful investigations;

Prior to each session which could be conducted in person or remotely , coaches and teachers collaboratively chose a specific instructional practice on which to focus their time together. Coaches then observed teachers in their classrooms and provided both supportive and constructive oral and written feedback on their teaching, facilitating the implementation of desired instructional practices.

For remote coaching, educators shared minute video clips and coaches provided detailed written feedback, supported by links to video exemplars and other materials available through the program. The semester-long program included 16 hours of workshops and seven coaching sessions. A two-year randomized controlled trial found that classrooms led by these teachers demonstrated larger gains and higher performance on a widely used early childhood classroom quality assessment, and their students experienced larger gains on a number of early language and literacy skills than did those in the control group.

Powell, D. Effects of an early literacy professional development intervention on Head Start teachers and children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 2 , — High-quality professional learning frequently provides built-in time for teachers to think about, receive input on, and make changes to their practice by facilitating reflection and soliciting feedback. Feedback may be offered as teachers analyze lesson plans, demonstration lessons, or videos of teacher instruction, which also provide opportunities for reflection about what might be refined or retained and reinforced.

These activities are frequently undertaken in the context of a coaching session or workshop, but may also occur among peers. The course also offered interactive message boards that were moderated by expert facilitators. Teachers participated in four hours of this coursework per month throughout the school year. In a randomized controlled study of the program, researchers found that students of teachers who received expert mentoring and feedback experienced the greatest gains on a variety of language and literacy outcomes.

Landry, S. Effectiveness of comprehensive professional development for teachers of at-risk preschoolers. Effective professional development provides teachers with adequate time to learn, practice, implement, and reflect upon new strategies that facilitate changes in their practice. As a result, strong PD initiatives typically engage teachers in learning over weeks, months, or even academic years, rather than in short, one-off workshops. Darling-Hammond, L. Professional learning in the learning profession. Educational researcher, 38 3 , — For example, the Transformative Professional Development program is a two-year PD model to enhance science instruction for Spanish-speaking elementary school students.

The program begins with a two-week summer workshop that includes graduate-level coursework on teaching elementary science. These additional sessions support teachers in deepening their learning and provided space for ongoing support in implementing the new curriculum. This model not only offers teachers the opportunity to return repeatedly to the PD material over the course of a semester, but also to apply their learning within the context of their classroom between workshops.

This cycle is repeated in the second year, with an additional summer workshop and continued release days. In a comparison group study, students whose teachers participated in the program demonstrated significantly larger improvements in science achievement over time than students whose teachers experienced business-as-usual PD.


Johnson, C. A study of the impact of transformative professional development on Hispanic student performance on state mandated assessments of science in elementary school. Journal of Elementary Science Teacher Education, 25 7 , — By promoting learning over time, both within and between sessions, PD that is sustained may lead to many more hours of learning than is indicated by seat time alone.

Effective Teacher Professional Development

Our research shows that effective professional learning incorporates most or all of these elements. Well-designed professional learning communities, such as those instituted by the National Writing Project, can integrate these elements to support teacher learning resulting in student learning gains. This collaborative and job-embedded professional development, described in additional detail in the box that follows, can enable widespread improvement within and beyond the school level.

Virgin Islands. In other cases the process lacked discussion at this point about teaching goals that connected student targets with the plan for the teacher's professional learning and development. Leaders in both these groups of schools usually did not know how to embed the appraisal process into improvement focused internal evaluation, which was in turn linked to other school improvement processes. Effective principals actively involve themselves in the professional learning process.

Struggling for Change in Chilean EFL Teacher Education

They were not always seen as leading the PLD but they were present and active as learners. Consequently, their professional discussions with staff were based on shared understandings about new knowledge relevant to the context of their school. These leaders had the ability to communicate these characteristics to their teachers.

Managing Change in Education - JT Rehill - [email protected]

They shared their vision and rationale for professional learning and development with teachers and other staff involved in the teaching process. These leaders sought the views of trustees and worked with the board to resource PLD prior to making decisions. Their collaborative approach encouraged and involved the school community. They worked with other school leaders and teachers to ensure that facilitation was well directed and that leadership was not seen as a 'top down' process.

Leaders can have significant influence on student outcomes through modelling continuing learning, and fostering teacher professional learning and development. ERO's report Accelerating the Progress of Priority Learners in Primary Schools explored some of the key roles that school leaders might have in promoting professional leaning and development in their school.

In this study effective school leaders accessed professional development aligned to school priorities, and focused on the teaching practices in the school that needed to improve for those students who were not succeeding. Effective leaders influence the school leaders of the future while also distributing leadership to others to promote teaching improvements.

The DP provided leadership in the analysis and sharing of the achievement data, observing the children in their classroom and exploring research about how to make the necessary improvements. The principal continued to be involved in the development but chose to model other professional development aspects such as leading collaborative brainstorming and working with teachers in classrooms. The philosophy was that 'leadership is about influencing another's thoughts or actions; anyone can lead.

This practice had resulted in considerable achievement gains for students. Effective leaders build teacher collaboration and foster great teacher leadership in schools. Most schools do this through organisational structures variously called either 'professional learning communities' or 'professional learning groups'. Creating and leading professional learning communities PLCs is very important for school improvement.

Professional learning communities build density in a school's leadership, enhance teachers' morale, support their professional learning and practice and make a difference for students. To create professional learning communities, leaders need to:. However, creating new structures does not in itself lead to school improvement. To deepen the work of professional learning communities, leaders need to:.