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Professional Learning to Improve

Achievement for All Students

Issue Oriented
T
 he National Staff Development Coun- It feels as though we have a road map for
cil and the School Redesign Network at effective professional learning that will lead to
Stanford University recently published increased learning for students. The report is
a technical report about teacher development a must-read for all educators.
called Professional Learning in the Learning What are some resources for models discus-
Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Develop- sed in the report? The Professional Teaching
ment in the United States and Abroad (www. and Learning Cycle (PTLC), developed by the
nsdc.org/stateproflearning.cfm). The report Southwest Educational Development Laboratory
reviews the research on the relationship between (SEDL), is one form of ongoing, job-embedded
professional development and student learning, professional development in which teachers col-
concluding that improving professional learning laboratively plan and implement lessons aligned
for educators is a crucial step in transforming to their state standards. The cycle involves teach-
schools and improving academic achievement. ers working in collaborative planning teams
Professional learning must be sustained, fo- (grade-level, vertical, or departmental) to:
cused on important content, and embedded in
• Discuss learning expectations from selected
the work of collaborative professional learning
state standards
teams that support ongoing improvements in
• Research and select instructional strategies,
teacher practice and student achievement.
resources, and assessments
The report also reviewed the availability of
• Develop a lesson incorporating the selected
effective professional learning opportunities in
strategies and identify the type of student work
the United States and other high-achieving na-
to use as evidence of student learning

tions. The report is the first of a multi-year effort By Anita McAnear
• Carry out the planned lesson, note implemen-
to track progress in the United States and iden-
tation successes and challenges, and gather
tify model policies and practices.
agreed upon evidence of student learning
According to scores from the Program in Anita McAnear is
• Examine student work and discuss student un-
International Student Assessment (PISA), L&L’s acquisitions
derstanding of the standards editor and national
high-achieving nations provide teachers with:
• Reflect on the implications of the analysis of program chair for
• More time for professional learning and student work and discuss alternative instruc- NECC. A former
collaboration tional strategies or modifications middle school math
and language arts
• Extensive opportunities for professional
The PTLC is part of Working Systemically in teacher, McAnear
learning that is ongoing and job embedded has been with ISTE
Action: A Guide for Facilitators, available from
• Involvement in curriculum and instructional since 1983.
the SEDL Store (www.sedl.org).
practice decisions
• Induction programs for new teachers that
include mentors
Copyright © 2009, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l), iste@iste.org, www.iste.org. All rights reserved.

June/July 2009  |  Learning & Leading with Technology  5