#52 – What Great Schools Do – Teacher Professional Learning

This episode is Part One of a series we are running called What Great Schools Do. In this series, we will discuss different aspects, actions that are taken, and ideas that ensure success in high performing schools.
What is a great school? We are defining it as a school where student outcomes in both learning and life are positively impacted. Where because of the school and the actions that it takes, students make progress.
There is no way that I have captured all the elements that go into making a good school, so please don’t think that if your idea is not in this list, that it is not important. Rather, this is a series that reflects my thinking right now and will certainly evolve over time.

For our first aspect of What Great Schools Do, I have chosen to focus on something that I personally have invested a lot of time into. It is the aspect that I believe might have the highest impact of them all, to engage in ongoing and meaningful teacher professional learning.

As a framework for this topic, we have highlighted 6 essential elements: time, structure, collaboration, direction, research, and leader involvement.

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Show Notes and Links:


  1. Just listened to the first episode of What Great Schools Do” and certainly it is hard (closer to impossible) to argue the impact classroom teachers have on children’s learning. The episode details some of what I hold as key tenets of teacher professional learning (job embedded, supported by best practice found in classrooms and research, and guided by what our students NEED us to learn. The episode and the many earlier episodes have certainly highlighted that teachers want the best for their students and understand that together they can identify the “how” of making pedagogical change as Ryan Dunn refers what many see as the greatest hurdle. Teachers are busy and they do focus on what is currently in front of them and while I’m not sure I would use the word fun (albeit I’m sure many enjoy those lessons) to describe taking the less demanding path, I agree that the pressures of time and what Kotter calls a “false sense of urgency”can sometimes make it seem like the only choice. I look forward to the rest of the series…thanks Corey!


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