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Benefits of Collaborative Professional Development

Benefits of Collaborative Professional Development


In this lesson, students evaluate the benefits of collaborative professional development

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Source: Glove, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Stick Figure, Clker, http://bit.ly/1JoIB83; Blackboard, Pixabay, http://bit.ly/1gKOx42; NCTAF, http://nctaf.org/; John Hattie, Wikimedia Commons, http://bit.ly/1RL3zaP; Bill and Melinda Gates, http://gates.ly/1HMwlxH

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Hello there and welcome. More and more educators are realizing that it doesn't make sense to go it alone. And that includes learning. So in this lesson, we will evaluate the many benefits that come with collaborative professional development. Let's get started.

It's been well documented that high quality teachers have a significant impact on student achievement. This is something we have suspected for a very long time. However, now we have evidence. As a result, more and more emphasis should be placed on professional development plans. And it is. It's essential, however, that these adult learning opportunities have a pinpoint focus of improving teacher quality through support, coaching, mentoring, and other means of professional growth.

There are, of course, many factors that impact student achievement. However, the most current research consistently shows that it is the quality of the teacher that has the greatest impact on student achievement. As a result, educational leaders are now spending more time and resources on teacher training and professional development in an effort to ensure that every student has access to a highly effective teacher in order to address gaps in achievement. Let's take a look at some of that research.

The first report is from the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future which was conducted in 1996. Some of the key findings from this report are it was revealed that teachers' specific content, knowledge, and skills have the greatest impact on student achievement. This is why you see many institutions of higher ed pushing for their students to concentrate on specific areas such as math or science. School improvement hinges on recruiting and retaining the best, most effective teachers.

Districts can take measures to improve the chances of this happening beyond compensation. For example, coaching and mentoring programs go a long way in growing young, talented teachers, as well as continuing to support veteran teachers. Other influences on school improvement include the resources and environment that are made available to help teachers do their job at the highest level.

In 2011, researcher John Hattie conducted one of the most comprehensive international meta analysis studies ever. He focused on the many influences on student achievement. And there are a lot of them, over 130. And determined that teachers have one of the greatest impacts. Here is how we quantified it. In his meta analysis, the effect size of a one means the student growth has increased by 50%, which is considered very significant. Here is an example, teachers given quality feedback to students had an effect size of 1.13 and was followed closely by instructional quality with an effect size of 1.0.

The Measures of Effective Teaching project was unveiled in 2013 by the Gates Foundation. Like the others, the biggest takeaway of this study was that teachers are the greatest factor when it comes to the impact on student achievement. For administrators this really adds a new dimension to teacher evaluation. An evaluator now knows the importance of looking for specific examples of affecting teaching through classroom observations, student surveys, and student achievement gains.

An examination of sociocultural learning theory, situated learning theory, adult learning theory, and network learning theory reveal what we know to be true. When teachers, and even administrators, are given the opportunity to work together, they benefit from dialogue, feedback, modeling, and observation. The most successful districts make this a priority.

A big plus associated with collaborative professional development is that it allows teachers to learn and share with one another. Districts are beginning to take advantage of the in-house expertise that's available to them and using it to increase professional growth and development of its faculty. The end result is an improvement of instructional strategies and processes.

I realized I've mentioned this before in this lesson but it bears repeating. Research indicates that student achievement is most affected by high quality teachers, collaborative professional development, and planning. If this is realized it will benefit the entire professional learning community.

Let's take a look back at what we covered in this lesson. We began by considering the impact that effective teachers have on student achievement, then covered three landmark studies that illustrate the point-- Teaching for America's Future, John Hattie's is meta analysis, and the Measures of Effective Teaching. We ended by looking at the benefits of collaborative professional development.

And now for today's food for thought. Take a moment to reflect upon your time as a young student. Do you recall which teachers were most effective in terms of your academic growth? Can you identify what made them so? As you reflect on how this information can be applied, you might want to explore the additional resources section that accompany this presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set. As always, thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Benefits of Collaborative Professional Development"

(00:00-00:15) Intro

(00:16-01:14) Impact on Student Achievement

(01:15-02:07) Teaching For America’s Future

(02:08-02:49) John Hattie

(02:50-03:18) Measures of Effective Teaching

(03:19-04:21) Benefits of Collaborative PD

(04:22-05:17) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

The Importance of Collaboration in Teacher Professional Development

This article focuses on the teacher collaboration and growth surrounding formative assessment practices.

Teaching Channel Launches Collaborative Professional Development Platform

In this article, Kevin Hudson explains how to use the features of the Teaching Channel for professional development. Although not noted in the article, the Teaching Channel now offers the option of creating groups with your colleagues.