Expanded Time for Teacher Professional Learning: Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative Align with Expectations in High Achieving Nations

By Michelle LaPointe, Researcher

Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative require many hours of professional development to learn these high impact instructional strategies to help children learn to read.  Beyond the time required in training to upgrade skills, both also require substantial teacher time to diagnose student needs, plan lessons that meet those needs, collecting data to continuously understand student progress, and reflecting on the data. Although districts and schools in the U.S. may balk at the amount of time spent that is NOT in direct contact with students, this amount of time is more common in schools in other higher performing nations.

Teaching is a learning profession.  Teachers must constantly assess and analyze student progress and understand the strategies that will best meet the needs of their students.  Teachers need adequate time to plan and individualize lessons. In nations with high performing education systems, teachers are given adequate time for on-going professional learning and collaboration with peers around meeting student needs and improving classroom practice.  Planning, reflection, documenting classroom work and daily student progress, and collaboration with peers to share challenges and solutions are all vital components of the professional practice of teachers.  Each of these activities, even if not performed in the classroom or while in direct contact with individual students, is aligned with improved student outcomes and mastering challenging standards.  The following table demonstrates the amount of professional learning time that is available to and expected of teachers in other parts of the world (*note- if you are having trouble reading the table, please print the blog post):

Sources:

OECD (2010). Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD.

*The New Teacher Induction Program: A Case Study on the Its Effect on New Teachers and their Mentors (2007)

± part of collective bargaining agreement created in 2005 and renewed in 2008. In Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States (OECD, 2011, p. 74)

** Training and Development Agency for Schools

º In Finland, aspiring teachers work in schools affiliated with the university training program.  They learn instructional practice in classrooms, under the tutelage of exceptional teachers.

Data taken from Teacher and Leader Effectiveness in High Performing Nations (2011). Percentage calculated by author.

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