Chapter 4: School Leadership
©2010 The Greaves Group, The Hayes Connection, One-to-One Institute
Implications Instruction It is well established that professional learning is crucial to teaching quality. A key component is combining new learning with on-the-job experience, reflection, and debriefing. Coaching and mentoring are ideal for adult learning because they fuel personal awareness through personalized reflection. Co-planning, collaborating, coaching, and debriefing are key elements for professional learning communities. Teachers involved in these professional interactions are able to hone their skills by applying knowledge on the job and reflecting on and debriefing those experiences with colleagues. ese teacher experiences translate to better classroom practices and highly informed instructional techniques, enhancing the opportunity for personalization. While online professional learning is accessible and evolving, our respondent schools are participating at a low level. e national emphasis on productivity and accountability makes it increasingly imperative that teachers regularly access knowledge and information for enhancing teaching and learning. Online professional learning is cost-eﬀective and expeditious for achieving this goal. Finance Professional learning that builds internal capacity rather than supporting episodic training events produces a tremendous return on investment. When teachers learn and grow together, the need for outside consultants disappears over time. Coaching, collaborating, and co-planning can be incorporated into a teacher’s daily or weekly schedule using creative scheduling. And high standards for teacher growth and a way to achieve those standards increase teacher productivity and the focus on instructional techniques. Each of these elements reduces the costs of travel and substitutes that occur when teachers must leave the school building for professional development. Funds saved can be redeployed toward improving student achievement. Blending online professional development with face-to-face is highly cost-eﬀective.
Policy Eﬀective school leaders provide ongoing, embedded professional development in order to ensure best practices for new century education. Federal, state, and local policies should support the expectation that principals actively seek, develop, and implement robust professional learning for themselves and their teachers. Increased internal capacity for building student achievement and teacher growth decreases external support costs. Virtual experiences are cost-eﬀective, at minimum eliminating the costs of travel and substitutes. When educators become coaches and resources for each other, they begin to expect growth and use best practices, leading to increased student success. Online professional learning will increasingly replace the need to travel to gain knowledge and skills. Online professional networks of best practices will increase just-in-time access to,4 as well as the exchange and application of, quality instruction, although ongoing face-to-face interaction will still be essential in certain situations. e power of getting people to sit down together to work on a problem cannot be underestimated. Industry As noted earlier, recent USDOE research shows that the most eﬀective instructional platform is a combination of face-to-face and online learning. Industry can benefit by helping schools relieve their ongoing budget issues by providing professional learning programs in online formats. Industry can ensure top-quality, cost-eﬀective learning experiences, accessible 24/7, with a moderator providing ongoing direction and feedback. is combination will become the leading mode of educator preparation. Lifelong professional learning will also impact teacher and administrator preparatory programs. e more contemporary, responsive, and personalized the program, the more likely that educators will gravitate to the experience.
For example, teachers can access a web page right before teaching a lesson on multiplying fractions, with all the information necessary to teach that standard and a brief video clip of eﬀective ways to teach that standard.