Redesigning Schools to Create Time for Collaboration

July 14th, 2014 | by SRC

The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) was recently released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and it offers a stunning picture of the challenges experienced by American teachers. Linda Darling Hammond recently provided her analysis of what we might do to in the United States to foster better teaching and learning. While we agree with many of the global suggestions presented in the article, School Readiness Consulting’s philosophy also aligns closely with Darling Hammond’s views on professional learning.

In discussing professional learning and development, Darling Hammond stresses that U.S. teachers receive less useful professional development than teachers in other countries.  Darling Hammond characterizes professional development in the United States as being driven by “one-shot, top-down, ‘drive-by’ workshops that are least useful for improving practice.”  SRC’s approach to professional development embraces the belief that professional learning must be more than individual trainings.  It is vital to adopt a wholistic approach to professional learning which is driven by data on teaching and learning practice and prioritizes educator leadership, peer collaboration, coaching, capacity-building, ongoing inquiry and reflection, and investment and support from administrators.  

In keeping with this philosophy, SRC’s Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (EC TA Center) provides a professional learning community for early childhood programs to meet each program’s comprehensive professional development needs.  For example, at an EC TA Center partner early childhood program in Northern Virginia, SRC staff are working with educators to provide the framework for a series of data-driven professional learning sessions that will be entirely teacher-developed and teacher-run.  This not only fosters a climate of collaboration but also builds capacity of educators within the program.

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