According to the Center for Public Education effective teacher training and professional development is informed by understanding how teachers best learn and implement new skills and practices. GLXi Curriculum Developers built our training components around this knowledge. We use this research, and our teachers’ feedback, to continually transform our teacher training.
GLXi’s Teacher Training is a 3 day intensive conference in January for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Then we focus on implementation through coaching, mentoring, and ongoing skill-specific training through our Virtual Learning Lab. The library can be accessed anywhere, or downloaded for offline use, and focuses heavily on the deep-dive details of the curriculum components. The process is backed by the science of how teachers learn new strategies. Student achievement starts with teacher capacity. GLXI works with teachers to make sure they have the capacity to create life-long learners.
HERE’S THE WHY BEHIND THE HOW
Most teachers only experience traditional, workshop-based professional development, even though research shows it is ineffective. 90% of PD is workshop based. This stands in stark contrast to teachers’ minimal exposure to other forms of professional development.(1) Despite its prevalence, the workshop model’s track record for changing teachers’ practice and student achievement is abysmal. Short, one-shot workshops often don’t change teacher practice and have no effect on student achievement. (2)
The largest struggle for teachers is not learning new approaches to teaching but implementing them. The reason traditional professional development is ineffective is that it doesn't support teachers during the stage of learning with the steepest learning curve: implementation. In the same way that riding a bike is more difficult than learning about riding a bike, employing a teaching strategy in the classroom is more difficult than learning the strategy itself. In several case studies, even experienced teachers struggled with a new instructional technique in the beginning.(3) In fact, studies have shown it takes, on average, 20 separate instances of practice, before a teacher has mastered a new skill, with that number increasing along with the complexity of the skill. (4)
In order to truly change practices, professional development should occur over time and be ongoing. During the implementation stage, initial attempts to use a new teaching strategy are almost certain to be met with failure, and mastery comes only as a result of continuous practice, despite awkward performance and frustration in the early stages. Without support during this phase, it is highly unlikely that teachers will persevere with the newly learned strategy. Studies show that effective professional development programs require anywhere from 50 to 80 hours of instruction, practice, and coaching before teachers arrive at mastery.(5) .