What Does Supportive Teacher Centered Professional Development Look Like?

Research Spotlight with Dr. Matthew Kraft

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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When a teacher first starts teaching, we know that their learning improves dramatically. Learning to be a good teacher will happen in just about any school during those first few years. But, over time there are schools where teachers keep learning. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in most schools. In this episode, we will study some important research that shows us the type of schools where teachers continue to learn how to be a better teacher. This is a very important show for curriculum directors, professional developers, and especially principals.

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However, don’t think that teachers have no control. When we teachers begin to think differently and connect with other teachers who have a can-do attitude, we can change things. Remember, teachers, you can decide to learn. Just by banding together and supporting each other, we can make a huge difference, as you’ll learn.

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Show Notes: Dr. Matthew Kraft

  • Put simply, the research found that teachers improve at much faster rates when they work in school that provide supportive professional environments.
  • 6 dimensions of strong professional work environments
    1. Schools that had orderly and clear discipline rules
    2. Schools that had frequent and high quality peer collaboration
    3. Schools that had supportive and responsive school leadership
    4. Schools were there were sustained and context specific professional development opportunities
    5. Schools that had strong cultures characterized by mutual trust and respect
    6. Schools where evaluations provided meaningful feedback that teachers could use to improvie their practice
  • Not only do individual teachers matter, but the school context in which those teachers work also matters … for student learning.
  • Without these supportive professional environments, teachers are not able to deliver the most effective instruction and improve on the job as well as they might be able to otherwise.
Today’s notes were compiled by my research assistant, Lisa Durff. Thank you, Lisa!

Who is Matthew Kraft?

Matthew Kraft @MatthewAKraftis an Assistant Professor of Education and Economics at Brown University. He studies human capital policies in education with a focus on teacher effectiveness and organizational change in K-12 urban public schools.

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