By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Peter DeWitt’s opinion about why administrators and teachers don’t (or won’t) attend the same professional development sessions (Education Week blog May 5) really hit home. So many times, it feels like the professional development is provided because the staff “needs” it but those that lead do not. That is, the leaders can tell us what to do because we need it but not engage in the learning with us because that might be “beneath” their status in schools. After all, isn’t a leader supposed to know everything there is about teaching and learning? How can a leader work side-by-side with teachers and admit that the information shared is either new or not easily understood?

That’s funny… I always thought that learning next to my neighbor was a very effective way to ensure that we all heard the same message and that the ensuing conversations about what we heard and how we would use it was the real learning. I never thought that professional development was “leveled” according to the job title that was held. If so, collaboration and engaging in professional dialogue would definitely be out of the question!

One of the critical attributes of effective school environments is that administrators support the notion of ongoing learning and continual improvement. This cannot happen if the administrators do not think attending the professional development and learning with the staff are important. Or, that professional development is important enough to ensure that all teachers have the opportunity to learn and practice together. It’s all about the partnerships and the effectiveness of team learning, team work, and team conversations.

How do the administrators in your school promote and practice the notion that all staff, including themselves, have ample opportunities to learn together?

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