This summer, Learning Forward, the nonprofit organization formerly known as the National Staff Development Council, released newly revised Standards for Professional Learning. The criteria, developed with the help of 40 professional associations and education organizations, are intended to guide educators and policymakers in creating and evaluating teacher-learning programs.
In introducing the new standards, Stephanie Hirsh, Learning Forward’s executive director, emphasized the use of the term “professional learning” (as opposed to professional development) in the title. The change “signals the importance of educators taking an active role in their continuous development and places emphasis on their learning,” she wrote. “The professional learning that occurs when these standards are fully implemented enrolls educators as active partners in determining the content of their learning, how their learning occurs, and how they evaluate its effectiveness.”
The New Standards for Professional Learning
Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students ...
• occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment.
• requires skillful leaders who develop capacity, advocate, and create support systems for professional learning.
• requires prioritizing, monitoring, and coordinating resources for educator learning.
• uses a variety of sources and types of student, educator, and system data to plan, assess, and evaluate professional learning.
• integrates theories, research, and models of human learning to achieve its intended outcomes.
• applies research on change and sustains support for implementation of professional learning for long-term change.
• aligns its outcomes with educator performance and student curriculum standards.
For more information on the standards, see Learning Forward.
A version of this article appeared in the October 13, 2011 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook