Improving teacher support has much to do with “overcoming some of the mindsets around PD,” explains Tom Arnett, Research Fellow at the Christensen Institute. In an exclusive interview, Tom discusses the need to adopt an outcomes-driven mindset and measure change in teacher practice.
Tom: I think a lot of it is just overcoming some of the mindsets around PD. In other words I think so often we just frame it as PD is something that’s either required by state or district policy or something that you know we recognize teachers need training.
For example, with common core rolling out over the last few years, people recognize teachers need training in order to do this new thing. Or if there’s a new software, a new curriculum a school is using — teachers need training for that, but I think the shift is that we have to stop focusing on the inputs and we start focusing more on the outcomes.
In other words, not think of PD as a course or a resource or a video or a series of videos but to think of it as the outcomes we want to see affected in teacher practice and then a variety of inputs. But really staying focused on measuring what are the changes we want to see in practice and how do we help teachers see the growth in their practice as they implement towards making those changes happen and making those outcome improvements for their students. So a lot of that is, I think, hand in hand with PD is that we need better resources for capturing teacher practice and giving teachers that feedback.
Listen to the full interview here.