Standards for Professional Learning outline the characteristics of professionallearning that leads to effective teaching practices, supportive leadership, and im-proved student results. Learning Forward is the only association focused solely onthe most critical lever in improving schools – building the knowledge and skills ofeducators.
In this edition, we highlight one of the standards: Implementation.
Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change.
Professional learning produces changes in educator practice and student learningwhen it sustains implementation support over time. Episodic, periodic or occasional professional learning has little effect on educator practice or student learning be- cause it rarely includes ongoing support or opportunities for extended learning tosupport implementation. Formal professional learning, such as online, on-site or hy-brid workshops, conferences or courses, is useful to develop or expand knowledge and skills, share emerging ideas, and network learners with one another. To bridge the knowing-doing gap and integrate new ideas into practice, however, educators need three to five years of ongoing implementation support that includes opportuni-ties to deepen their understanding and address problems associated with practice.
Ongoing support for implementation of professional learning takes many forms and occurs at the implementation site. It may be formalized through ongoing workshops designed to deepen understanding and refine educator practice. It occurs through coaching, reflection or reviewing results. It may occur individually, in pairs, or in collaborative learning teams when educators plan, implement, analyze, reflect and evaluate the integration of their professional learning into their practice. It occurs within learning communities that meet to learn or refine instruc-tional strategies; plan lessons that integrate the new strategies; share experiences about implementing those lessons; analyze student work together to reflect on the results of use of the strategies; and assess their progress toward their defined goals. School- and system-based coaches provide extended learning opportunities, resources for implemen-tation, demonstrations of the practices, and specific, personalized guidance. Peer support groups, study groups, peer observation, co-teaching, and co-planning are other examples of extended support. When educators work to resolve challenges related to integration of professional learning, they support and sustain implementation. Profes-sional learning is a process of continuous improvement focused on achieving clearly defined student and educator learning goals rather than an event defined by a predetermined number of hours.
If you would like to read more about the Standards for Professional Learning, visit the national organization’s web-site at: https://learningforward.org/standards-for-professional-learning.