Two weeks ago, PIIC provided a wonderful three-day professional learning experience to coaches, mentors, administrators and other school/IU staff members. After great discussions about practice and the evolution of instructional coaching in their respective buildings, participants were asked to reflect and think about how coaching has helped move teachers from “information sharing” to “professional learning.” You know the song, “It’s all about the bass?” Our PLO was “all about the practice!”
One coach remarked, “I have seen a shift from teachers just talking to each other to a major change in conversation being about strategies and ideas to use in the classroom. This is a welcomed change in my building.”
Professional development refers to the “staff development” that is typically offered to teachers. Been there; done that… we all know what happens when professional development in isolation is offered. That’s not enough; providing PD means just sharing information and if the information is not relevant, that’s another issue.
The content offered in professional development may inform practice but it doesn’t change the practice. Practice changes when teachers talk together, plan together, and debrief together about what works well in classrooms; change occurs when the professional development is followed up with coaches and becomes professional learning that is consistent, ongoing, tied to teacher practice, standards, and research.
When coaches create a culture of collaboration and conversation, change occurs. And it is the coaches who are the first practitioners to notice those changes.
In what ways have you seen teachers move from information sharing to implementation of new information?