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”.
Tom: Well when I think of effective, for me one of the important notions to make sure that you get past is that effective isn’t necessarily defined by any particular practice.
In other words, I like to set aside any particular practices and just focus on the outcomes. So in my mind, effective professional development is professional development that causes teachers to change their practices in ways that improve student outcomes. And then there’s a whole variety of ways that you can accomplish that, but I think that’s the key there.
Tom Arnett is a Research Fellow at the Christensen Institute. Tom’s research focuses on the changing roles of teachers in blended learning environments and other innovative educational models. Tom previously worked as an Education Pioneers Fellow with the Achievement First Public Charter Schools, where he designed and piloted a blended-learning summer school program. He also taught middle school math and experimented with blended-learning models as a Teach For America corps member in the Kansas City Missouri School District. Tom received a bachelors of science in Economics from Brigham Young University, and then went on to earn an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a William G. McGowan Fellow.