The Cycle

Where education leaders can join a candid discussion about how schools are taking fresh approaches to providing relevant, inspiring, and effective professional learning

We interviewed Tom Arnett, Research Fellow at the Christensen Institute about his perspective regarding high quality professional learning.  He explains that effective professional development has less to do with a specific practice and everything to do with being outcomes driven. Effective professional development “causes teachers to change their practices in ways that improve student outcomes”.

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Nearly two decades ago, business thinkers coined the phrase the “knowing-doing gap.” The main idea being that despite all the things we know to be true, there is an inability (or unwillingness) to implement. Surveying the education landscape, there are any number of arenas where this holds true. We know what works, we know what research says, and we know what kids need, but somewhere along the way there is a breakdown. It could be due to bad policy, a failure to communicate clearly, or a lack of funding for quality implementation, but we end up in a professional purgatory between where we should be and where we currently are. more

High quality PD begins with listening.  That’s the first step that Lisa Highfill, Instructional Technology Coach at Pleasanton Unified School District took when she planned PD for her teachers.  Lisa captured critical information about her teachers’ needs and interests to help inform the structure and content of her training sessions.  Teachers chose how to spend their time as they developed new skills and applied their knowledge alongside their peers.  Listen to Lisa discuss how as a PD facilitator, she must not stand in the front of the room and impart knowledge, but rather work collaboratively with her teachers, support them as they actively engage with new content, and continue to listen.  Tune in here or read the transcript below: more

We need to treat our teachers like we expect them to treat their students”, states Lisa Highfill, Instructional Technology Coach at Pleasanton Unified School District.  Lisa reflects on how she designed and facilitated personalized professional learning based on her teachers’ individual needs, abilities, and interests.  This personalized approach characterized by trust invested teachers in their growth and development.  Listen here or read the transcript below: more

differentiate

We interviewed Lisa Highfill, Instructional Technology Coach at Pleasanton Unified School District about the steps she and her colleagues have taken to provide differentiated and active professional learning for their teachers.  She discusses the importance of building trust with teachers by truly listening to their needs and creating learning opportunities that feel relevant and meaningful. Listen here or read the transcript below. more