Senior Advisor, Learning Forward
Early efforts inadequate to support implementation!
A flurry of professional learning is occurring in states that are working to implement the Common Core State Standards. Most of these states have decided to begin at what seems like a logical point: unpacking the standards.
In these unpacking sessions, teachers and principals study the new standards, reach an understanding of the cognitive demand embedded in them, and prepare for the work required to transform their teaching to implement the standards.
While these early efforts may lay the foundation for understanding the new standards, they are inadequate to support implementation.
States Need to Shift Gears
...to begin real work of implementation.
Quality Professional Learning
enriches content knowledge
pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) -- knowing how students learn various disciplines and the major concepts within those disciplines.
More than PLCs
"professional learning community model rarely embeds deep learning about content, pedagogy, and PCK"
Needed: Mindset and Change Leadership
- "comprehensive plan grounded in a theory of change and fundamental beliefs."
- Without a comprehensive plan that intentionally enacts the vision of learning and teaching, driven by a common vision and theory of change, professional learning will likely duplicate past efforts that have been inadequate, unfocused, and incoherent.
- develop learning progressions for educators based on the defined theory of change and beliefs, and must differentiate and sustain professional learning as a natural part of educators' daily experience so that they achieve high levels of expertise.
Applying Standards not Unpacking Them
Rather than spending months or even a year unpacking the standards, teachers must engage in applying the standards in their classrooms and schools.
- Teachers and principals collaborate within teams of peers that have skillful facilitation to employ constructivist, inquiry-based practices, close guidance and support from content and content-specific pedagogical experts, and coaching that provides a steady steam of evidence-based feedback.
- School, district, and state leaders provide the necessary support, time, technology, and other resources essential for teams to succeed.
- School leaders create a culture in which all staff members share collective responsibility, peer accountability, and commitment to continuous improvement to achieve student success.
With a clear focus on implementation, a fully developed theory of change and fundamental beliefs to guide a comprehensive plan for professional learning, adequate expert support, and the necessary conditions for success, professional learning will become a significant lever in producing the transformation in classroom practice and student success embedded in the new standards.