ISTE Standard 5: Professional Learning Facilitator
Coaches plan, provide and evaluate the impact of professional learning for educators and leaders to use technology to advance teaching and learning. Coaches:
b. Build the capacity of educators, leaders and instructional teams to put the ISTE Standards into practice by facilitating active learning and providing meaningful feedback.
Research has noted that many professional development initiatives appear ineffective in supporting changes in teachers’ practices and student learning. According to Darling-Hammond and Hyler (2017), effective professional development shared the following features
- Is content focused
- Incorporates active learning utilizing adult learning theory
- Supports collaboration, typically in job-embedded contexts
- Uses models and modeling of effective practice
- Provides coaching and expert support
- Offers opportunities for feedback and reflection
- Is of sustained duration
Among all these elements, I would like to focus on how to incorporate active learning in teacher professional development that support changes in teachers’ practice and student learning.
Wong and Saunders (2020) defined active learning is any type of learning that involves direct interaction with the content or materials. They further explained that active learning involves direct engagement with course material, such as discussion, debate, role playing, and hands-on practice. In contrast, passive learning does not directly involve the student; examples of passive learning include lectures or demonstrations, where students listen and watch but do not actively participate.
Wong and Saunders (2020) provided active learning strategies in designing and implementing instruction sessions as below:
- Brainstorm/Carousel Brainstorm
- Concept Mapping
- Learner Demonstration
- Role Play and Skits
- Lecture Pause
- Peer Instruction
- Minute Paper
- Scavenger Hunt
Garet and Porter (2001)’s study on comparison of effects of different characteristics of professional development on teachers’ learning, also points out opportunities for active learning is one of the professional development activities that have significant, positive effects on teachers’ self-reported increases in knowledge and skills and changes in classroom practice. They suggested that opportunities for active learning can take a number of forms and listed the following four active learning dimensions from their studies resulting in changes in teachers’ practice and student learning.
- Observing and being observed teaching: opportunity for teachers to observe expert teachers, be observed teaching in their own classroom, and obtain feedback.
- Planning for classroom implementation: opportunity to link the ideas introduced during professional 925 Garet et al. development experiences to the teaching context in which teachers work.
- Reviewing student work: opportunity to examine and review student work.
- Presenting, leading, and writing: opportunity to give presentations, lead discussions, and produce written work to improve outcomes by permitting teachers to delve more deeply into the substantive issues introduced.
However, learners can also be resistant to active learning. Active learning requires learners to engage and participate and puts more responsibility on them. Some teachers who are used to listening to lectures and taking notes might be confused or put off by active learning activities, at least at first. Active learning often requires learners to share thoughts, ideas, and answers in small and large groups, and some learners might be nervous about giving a “wrong” answer or sharing an unpopular idea (Wong and Saunders, 2020).
Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., Gardner, M. (2017). Effective Teacher Professional Development (research brief). Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/effective-teacher-professional-development-brief
Wong, M., and Saunders, L.,(2020). Instruction in Libraries and Information Centers: An Introduction. Urbana-Champaign, IL: Windsor & Downs Press, 4 Active Learning: Engaging People in the Learning Process https://iopn.library.illinois.edu/pressbooks/instructioninlibraries/chapter/active-learning-engaging-people-in-the-learning-process/
Garet, M., Porter, A., Desimone, L., Birman, B., Yoon, k., (2001). What Makes Professional Development Effective? Results from a National Sample of Teachers. American Educational Research Journal, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Winter, 2001), pp. 915-945. http://www.artsintegrationpd.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/What-makes-PD-effective-Garet_et_al.pdf