Resources for Learning recently published a report entitled “The State of Teacher Professional Learning: Results from a Nationwide Survey.” The survey was conducted in partnership with NEA, LearningForward, and Corwin.
Over 6,300 educators nationwide responded to the online survey in 2016. Here are the key findings, according to the report:
- Teachers report that leaders in their schools and systems are committed to professional learning. Teachers recognize that their school leaders advocate for resources that support professional learning. Additionally, teachers tend to agree that their school leaders have confidence that all staff are capable of being professional learning leaders.
- Teachers report that their schools use student achievement data to plan professional learning, but they don’t use a variety of data to assess its effectiveness. Teachers agree that a variety of student achievement data informs professional learning for school improvement. However, teachers do not necessarily see their schools as committed to using a variety of data in planning and evaluating professional learning. They also do not necessarily believe that their school has a consistent approach to professional learning.
- Teachers are not deeply involved in decisions about their own professional learning. Just over half of survey respondents indicated they only had some say in professional learning decisions, and nearly twenty percent indicate they had no input at all. Teachers also reported that professional learning expenses are not necessarily openly discussed at schools.
- Teachers report that they are not provided adequate time during the school day to follow-up on their professional learning by practicing and applying new skills in the classroom. Only one fourth of respondents indicated that the majority of their professional learning takes place during school hours.
- Provide opportunities for continuous, job-embedded professional learning. Effective strategies include instructional coaching and participation in professional learning communities or school-based teams.
- Use a variety of sources of data to plan and assess professional learning. Both student and teacher implementation data can and should inform objectives for professional learning, and ongoing monitoring can reveal whether teachers are effectively applying this new learning in the classroom.
- Include teachers in decision making about their own professional learning. School leaders can invite teachers to reflect on their practice, listen deeply to their concerns, and bring them to the table to consider solutions, with a focus on collaboration and improved student learning.