By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

In the online February 17, Professional Learning News brief from Learning Forward, a study by researchers at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University concluded that when teachers participate in professional development, students do better in assessments.  These researchers examined math and reading scores for students before and after teachers in their schools began using an online professional development program. This study took place over a two-year period, one the year prior to the adoption of a PD tool and the year the teachers began using the tool.

Although this study took place over a short period of time, I think what this confirms is what we know... teachers who regularly engage in effective professional development benefit. Having said that, let me clarify... teachers who regularly engage in ongoing professional development with the opportunity for support and follow up benefit the most. The expectation that effective professional development yields effective professional learning is what makes a difference in the classroom.

Professional learning occurs after the professional development has been provided and teachers have an opportunity to engage in professional conversations about what they learned. They need time to talk with one another and discuss what they think students need to know and how they will engage students in that process. Teachers need time to talk to their colleagues about instruction. If the professional development is online, every effort must be made to support that learning by having face-to-face conversations, both one-on-one and in small groups, to ensure that the content is understood, the goals are met, and learning is differentiated and can be adjusted to meet the needs of all involved.

Sounds easier said than done but one thing is certain…instructional coaching is the vehicle to build effective instructional practices, skills, and knowledge so that all students are in classrooms with highly effective teachers.

1 comment:

  1. Executive coaching is a highly effective process for leadership development. It typically comprises some combination of contracting, assessment, feedback, action learning and follow-up to ensure sustained success.
    Coaching for Leadership

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