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Learning Forward

A systemic approach to elevating teacher leadership. 

How does professional development improve teaching?

Addresses the question of research design for studies of professional development and suggests that some widely favored research designs might adversely affect study outcomes.

Beyond hammers versus hugs: Leveraging educator evaluation and professional learning communities into job-embedded professional development

 Educational evaluation (Ed Eval) and professional learning communities (PLCs) are two of the nation’s most predominant approaches to widespread instructional improvement. Yet key attributes of these reform initiatives are too often experienced by teachers as burdensome, or even detrimental, rather than helpful. The authors of this article contend that school leaders will be more successful in their school improvement efforts when they integrate the most promising elements of PLCs (disciplined collaboration, deprivatization of practice, and classroom-based assessment) and Ed Eval (use of professional performance standards, observation and feedback, and a focus on results) into a tiered system of job-embedded professional development.

Finding a new way: Leveraging teacher leadership to meet unprecedented demands

It is not easy to implement new forms of teacher leadership meaningfully and effectively; doing so involves some profound changes to the status quo. Developing teacher leadership systems require us to rethink evaluation, compensation, distributed leadership, and even what we see as the role of teachers. Examples already have emerged, though, to show that such transformation is possible. This paper addresses what is necessary for change and how school systems might be able to achieve it.