Finding Time for Professional Learning—click to download a PDF of this page.
Opportunity Culture Principles require protected, in-school time for on-the-job learning. Research shows that effective professional development is embedded in teachers’ everyday practice, with opportunities to apply new learning followed by self-reflection and feedback. Opportunity Culture models enable teacher-leaders to take responsibility for this critical task. In Multi-Classroom Leadership, excellent teachers with leadership competencies lead teacher teams to meet the leaders’ standards of excellence. Multi-classroom leaders have daily time to collaborate with their teachers, and observe, develop, and model skills for them.
Careful scheduling allows schools to find the in-school time needed for those tasks. Schools should create blocks of time in the schedule for team collaboration. They may also combine Multi-Classroom Leadership with other models that allow students to spend some time learning the basics online, and have paraprofessionals supervise students while they work individually, in small groups, or online. Multi-classroom leaders can meet with their teams or individual teachers during this time.
In addition to building professional learning time into the existing school day, an increasing number of schools now fund longer school days and years, and devote a portion of that time to teacher-led professional learning. A recent survey identified more than 1,500 schools with expanded learning time.
The following checklist offers an overview of strategies that schools use to find time for teacher-led professional learning, as well as a description of some basic requirements to implement each strategy. Several strategies may need to be combined to find the adequate time that is essential for multi-classroom leaders to fulfill their leadership responsibilities.
Districts and schools that want to build time for teacher-led professional learning into the school day can use this chart as a guide to selecting strategies that make the most sense for them.
Time Use Strategies for Teacher-Led Professional Learning
Using Excellent Teachers’ Time Wisely: Detailed descriptions of new models from Public Impact that create an Opportunity Culture in schools, extending the reach and accountability of excellent teachers in ways that include time for daily, on-the-job professional learning. These models provide protected in-school time and clarity about how teacher-leaders and their teams can better use daily professional learning time for planning, collaboration, and development.
Example Schedules for School Models: Example schedules from Public Impact show how teachers can rotate their teachers’ time in subject-specific teams with digital learning, or have elementary teachers specialize in their best subject or subject pair, such as math/science. Teachers gain professional learning and collaboration time from these models.
Charlotte, N.C.’s Project L.I.F.T.: New Teaching Roles Create Culture of Excellence in High-Need Schools: Case study of how pilot Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools implemented new Opportunity Culture models that extend the reach of excellent teachers to more students. The study shows how new Multi-Classroom Leadership and Time-Technology Swap models provide more planning, collaboration, and co-teaching time for teachers and teacher-leaders.