PD Anywhere Professional Development Blog

Want Great Teaching? Provide Great Professional Development

July 26, 2018

Nothing has a bigger impact on student achievement than great teaching. To make sure that great teaching happens consistently, educators need access to great professional development (PD).

Research has shown that instruction provided by teachers who are experienced, knowledgeable, strong in content knowledge, and well prepared is the key to students’ academic progress.  Great teachers often get great results—even when others around them do not. For school districts, the development of a stable, high quality teaching force of great teachers not only reduces teacher failure but also reduces student failure. (Krasnoff, 2014)

Attracting, supporting, and retaining skilled and committed teachers is tough in today’s world. In order to support all teachers and build the skills of those who may be less experienced or not as strong when they start their teaching careers, it is essential that school districts and educational leaders do what works. Studies on teacher retention that have looked at PD as a factor in attracting and retaining teachers offer practical insights into what we should do and how we should do it.

Teachers consistently identify five factors as reasons for remaining in their classrooms and schools (Krasnoff, 2014, p. 25):

  1. Time to collaborate with colleagues,
  2. Job-embedded professional development,
  3. A sense of autonomy,
  4. Time to interact with supportive educational leaders, and
  5. Opportunities to provide input regarding student learning outcomes.

To provide teachers with these essential supports, there are several specific PD practices that show great promise:

  • Observations of teachers by their peers
  • Support from coaches and content experts
  • Active learning opportunities during the school day so that teachers can apply the approaches they have learned
  • Lesson studies, that include videotaped lessons for review by a team
  • Professional learning communities, also known as learning or inquiry teams
  • Job-embedded PD through collaboration
  • Data-based measures of whether the PD changes teacher practice and student achievement.

Investing in PD to improve high quality instructional practices is cost effective and makes a difference. Educational leaders should commit to channeling funding to evidence-based PD that works. Great professional development may be the most effective tool available to educators if we want to support and retain our great teachers.

Sources of Information for This Post:

Generation Ready. Raising Student Achievement Through Professional Development. Retrieved from the Internet on March 17, 2018. http://www.generationready.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/PD-White-Paper.pdf

 Krasnoff, B. (2014) What the research says about class size, professional development, and recruitment, induction, and retention of highly qualified teachers: A compendium of the evidence on Title II, Part A, Program-funded strategies. Northwest Comprehensive Center at Education Northwest. Retrieved from the Internet on July 25, 2018. https://www.schoolturnaroundsupport.org/sites/default/files/resources/compendium-of-evidence-on-titleIIA-strategies.pdf

Teaching Teachers: PD to Improve Student Achievement (Teaching Tolerance website; no author cited) Retrieved from the Internet on July 26, 2018. https://www.tolerance.org/professional-development/teaching-teachers-pd-to-improve-student-achievement

Want to Improve Student Achievement? Improve Teaching in the Classroom, Starting with These Three Skills. (PD Anywhere website). https://pdanywhere.com/blog/want-to-improve-student-achievement-improve-teaching-in-the-classroom-starting-with-these-three-skills/


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