Does collaborating really help teachers grow?

6a010536aec25c970b01b7c7f6abb2970bA recent report from TNTP (formerly the New Teacher Project) examined the professional growth of 10,000 teachers to try to determine what distinguishes the “improvers” from the “non-improvers” and found—perhaps not surprising to some of you—that most of the professional development (PD) teachers receive does little to improve the quality of instruction.

So what does?—asks McREL’s Bryan Goodwin in his latest column for Educational Leadership. We know from research that teacher practice doesn’t change by simply introducing new concepts or even through modeling and practice, he writes. What seems to make the most difference is the addition of peer coaching.

But we also know from research that the effects of both peer coaching and teacher collaboration are inconsistent. That’s because, Goodwin explains, most studies look at the number of hours spent on coaching and collaboration, not how those hours are spent.

Coaching and collaboration that truly help teachers grow, in other words, is a matter of quality, not quantity. Effective PD, Goodwin says, requires follow-up support “focused not on adoption but rather on adaption”—helping teachers go beyond lock-step implementation to applying better practices with their own students. Another key factor, then, is the how school leaders think about and approach professional development and change.

You can read the entire column here.

Posted by McREL International.

One Comment

  • CMarie says:

    Collaboration, when focused on student learning, is the key to help teachers succeed in their practice. As they collaborate they get to reflect on each other’s practice and learn from each other.

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