Next-Gen Professional Learning: A Teacher Performance Model

EdTech, Learning, Platforms & Data

Perhaps you’ve experienced the irony of attending an old-fashioned professional development workshop to learn about next generation teaching. Something like $18 billion is spent on professional development in US K–12 and most of it does not model blended and personalized learning.

The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC), a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner, has developed a better approach to building educators’ skills in mastering the teaching of the new college-ready standards: a scaffolded teacher learning experience with a significant research basis for teacher and student learning that LDC Executive Director Chad Vignola avidly shares.

As part of their work to move professional development from a workshop model to a teacher performance model LDC has created a flipped, online teacher model that they are now piloting as part of their i3 validation grant in the New York City Department of Education and Los Angeles Unified School District. Premised on a teacher learning progression, the flipped PD model offers teachers multiple opportunities to self-assess and receive coaching feedback on their skill development.

Backstory. LDC was launched in 2010 as a network of teachers and partners focused on building out a template-based approach to the literacy demands of college and the workplace as outlined by the Common Core State Standards. The Guidebook to LDC, written by Marilyn Crawford, Stacy Galiatsos, and Anne C. Lewis, explains that LDC “allows teachers to build content on top of a coherent approach to literacy.”

LDC starts with a task that engages students in writing in response to reading disciplinary content. Students take on important issues as well as the complex texts that they must wrestle with to be college ready. Tasks can be rolled up into modules of one to four weeks of instruction. A complete module includes examples of quality student work and instructional resources. A group of modules can roll up to a course.

LDC is not a lesson plan library, although districts, schools, and other organizations including the New Tech Network quickly adopted hundreds of high quality LDC teacher-developed prompts for use in classrooms across the country. LDC online professional learning courses built for Fresno Unified School District and other districts are now in use nationwide.

In January 2014, LDC launched LDC CoreTools, a collaborative authoring environment that guides teachers through a curriculum design and professional development experience that enables them to master the instructional shifts of the Common Core.

Teachers work in a Google Docs-like environment that guides them to create and share standards-aligned lessons and units known as mini-tasks and modules. They can watch videos and review modules identified as Exemplary and Good to Go by teams of teachers using the virtual peer review processes within LDC Core Tools. The rubric for looking at teacher work is grounded on evidence and was designed and field-tested with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE) and practitioners across the country.

Powerful Learning. Most PD has focused on content transmission rather than authentic job embedded learning experiences. Teachers’ shared experiences with LDC Core Tools suggest that it is not only a useful authoring environment but also a powerful professional learning space that helps teachers elevate their practice.

According to Stacy Galiatsos, “LDC honors teachers as professionals. As we discuss in Powerful Designs for Professional Learning, LDC hinges on educators bringing their collective expertise to bear on what matters most for the students: powerful, relevant, engaging assignments that are taught.”

LDC Design Team member Eleanor Dougherty notes, “LDC has evolved from an idea sketched out on a few pieces of paper to a resource for thousands of teachers and other educators across the country. With the help of the LDC Community of Practice, LDC has become and will continue to become more responsive and user-friendly.”

Webinar. Learn more about how multiple school districts are using LDC to develop performance tasks to align taught and tested curriculum systematically and sensibly, in a webinar hosted by LDC Design Team member Eleanor Dougherty and educators from Thompson School District in Colorado on May 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET: Aligning Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment with LDC Performance Tasks.

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