Professional Learning
Professional Learning

Educators are the lead learners in schools. If they are to enable powerful, authentic, deep learning among their students, they need to live that kind of learning and professional culture themselves. When everyone is part of that experiential through-line, that’s when next generation learning thrives.

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If students are to experience next gen learning, the adults enabling that form of learning must absolutely be living it themselves.

Teachers are learners, too.

In an event releasing a new report from the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future yesterday, Rachel Hull passionately explained how as a teacher she differentiated instruction for her students. She did it because it was expected of her and because it was what her students needed. And yet, she decried, her school and district did not differentiate her professional development. 

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” she quipped, as shown in this clip from the event.

Because teachers are learners, too. 

The report, What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning, calls for a systems change to reorganize schools. This new compact with teachers “embraces new student learning, new learning environments, new organization of teaching, and a new system to support teaching.” 

Schools in the NGLC network are doing all of this school reorganization. And the educators behind them have learned much about what’s needed from a systems perspective, even at the school level, to be successful. No surprise, supporting teachers within these new learning environments has emerged as essential.

If students are to experience next gen learning, the adults enabling that form of learning must absolutely be living it themselves. 

Differentiated professional development—or next gen professional learning as we like to call it—is built upon the research of adult learning and reflects the personalized, learner-centered, experiential nature of next generation learning. That means moving away from an understanding of PD as an occasional, event-based, primarily direct-instruction workshop-oriented practice led by outside experts. 

It means moving toward a reframing of adult learning as an on-going culture of deeply job-embedded professional practice, primarily led by the participants. One that agency, self-direction, and high-quality content personalized to educators’ strengths and needs. With learning that is ongoing, iterative, collaborative, focused on mastering competencies through authentic experiences, and data-driven.

Professional Learning Resources for You

As part of our effort at NGLC to elevate the important role of next gen professional learning in education redesign, we have curated a set of resources on Professional Learning.

This includes educator competencies, strategies, and new structures to recognize teachers for their learning. It also includes a short list of grantees in the NGLC network that are leading the charge when it comes to implementing next gen professional learning.

We Need Your Vote

We hope to bring this critical topic to SXSWedu in March. We’ve helped organize a panel that includes some of the best thinkers and doers when it comes to next generation professional learning:

If you’re at all familiar with SXSWedu’s PanelPicker, you’ll understand why I’m asking you to vote for this session, Teachers are Learners, Too: Next Gen Learning & PD, so it can become part of the SXSWedu program next March. We need your help to continue elevating next gen professional learning as the best path to redesigned schools that work. The last day of voting is September 2!

Kristen Vogt (she/her/hers)

Knowledge Officer, NGLC

Kristen Vogt, knowledge management officer for NGLC, focuses on identifying lessons, strategies and outcomes from the NGLC community and making them available to a wider audience.