Collaborative Professional Learning

Organize teacher collaboration to establish a professional culture that can meet new challenges and improve student learning

About Collaborative Professional Learning

Overview Description

Teaching is a field that offers numerous challenges - challenges that individual teachers often face alone due to the inherently isolating nature of teaching in one's own classroom. However, because teachers within a school likely face many of the same challenges, schools should be deliberate about enabling and supporting teacher collaboration in order to break down barriers, ensure knowledge, ideas, and skills are shared across the community, and develop a culture of collaborative professional learning.

When teachers have the opportunity to collaborate, they share learning practices and experiences, support one another in trying new strategies and teaching moves, partner in responding to student and classroom data, and work together to develop curriculum and implement new school initiatives. When teacher collaboration is formalized into a Professional Learning Community (PLC),teachers organize into groups focused on problem solving for one specific area of growth or need. Teacher collaboration, within a PLC or not, must be supported and facilitated by instructional leaders in order to avoid the harmful teacher isolation that school structure can create.

At BetterLesson, we believe that creating a culture of collaboration is a key practice in school success, and that there are actionable strategies and practices instructional leaders can use to successfully build and maintain a sustainable, collaborative community of educators.

Why it's important

Teacher collaboration is critical in ensuring that teachers work together to analyze and improve their classroom practice in order to achieve their collective purpose of increasing student growth. When teachers work collaboratively, they receive continuous job-embedded learning and professional development from their peers and colleagues that will lead to better results for their students, for their team, and for their school; As a result, their collective ability to help all students learn will rise.

What success looks like

When schools support teacher engagement in Collaborative Professional Learning:

  • School administrators support and develop teacher collaboration as well as assist in coordinating teams.

  • Teachers work together to establish transparent, attainable goals around student achievement, and support one another in improving their classroom practice to ensure students meet those goals.

  • Teams of teachers meet regularly with a clear and specific agenda focused on implementation of data-based, actionable, student-centered steps.

  • Teachers feel connected to their colleagues, the mission and goals of their school, and the collective responsibility for student success, and are comfortable openly sharing and discussing the strengths and growth areas of their practice.

  • Teachers have a voice in determining what professional development focuses on and are given adequate time and feedback to act on and implement what they learn.

Featured Strategies

Change teaching and learning one step at a time using the BetterLesson coaching model
Change teaching and learning one step at a time using the BetterLesson coaching model
In the months leading up to a coaching year, so many details can be planned ahead of time for a successful launch into coaching
In the months leading up to a coaching year, so many details can be planned ahead of time for a successful launch into coaching
Stay in touch with the teaching and learning in your school with quick classroom visits
Stay in touch with the teaching and learning in your school with quick classroom visits

Growth Areas

BetterLesson growth areas are targeted goals for growth in a learning domain through BetterLesson Coaching. Learn more about BetterLesson Coaching.
I cultivate and facilitate thriving professional learning communities (PLCs) in which teachers work together to analyze and improve their classroom practice
I structure and run frequent data meetings to support teacher teams in utilizing formative and summative assessment data to monitor and adjust instruction
I support teacher teams to design, create, and reflect on instructional units and lessons
I collaborate with teachers to catalyze, plan, and implement new school and district initiatives

Additional Reading

How BetterLesson Can Help

We provide personalized, continuous support to help teachers and instructional leaders make growth towards their professional goals.
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