Professional Learning Excellence | How to Achieve It

Find resources to lead professional learning routines that support continuous learning and improvement.

Job-Embedded Professional Learning Essential to Improving Teaching and Learning in Early Education

Drawn from the Ounce Investing in Innovation (i3) project, this brief makes the case that the field must abandon traditional professional development and replace it with the organizational and sustained support of job-embedded professional learning (JEPL).

Job-Embedded Professional Development: What it is, Who is Responsible, and How to Get it Done Well

This issue brief highlights the characteristics and conditions needed to support teacher learning as grounded in day-to-day teaching practice and focused on improving student learning. Learning Forward, 2010.

Moving from Compliance to Agency: What Teachers Need to Make Professional Learning Work

According to a 2014 survey of 1,600 teachers conducted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, most teachers experienced their professional development as irrelevant, ineffective and “not connected to their core work of helping students learn.” Experts from the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) and Learning Forward: The Professional Learning Association provide a new view of professional learning that puts the emphasis on teacher agency. This article outlines their case for helping teachers move from compliance to agency.

Lead Learn Excel – Peer Learning Group Formats

Explore these short descriptions and examples of effective peer learning group formats that support embedded professional learning for teachers and staff. The Ounce, 2014.

Inspiring Peak Performance: Competence, Commitment, and Collaboration*

This book from Paula Jorde Bloom, Ann Hentschel and Jill Bella presents five strategies that together help transform centers and schools into professional learning communities. New Horizons, 2013.

Early Childhood Job Satisfaction Survey (ECJSS)

Leaders can use the ECJSS as a career guidance tool to reflect with staff on aspects of their work that contribute most to job fulfillment. McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, 2013.

Peer Learning Group Resources

Peer Learning Teams: Where to Begin

Prepare your teachers for successful peer learning teams with the simple steps outlined in this blog post from Ann Hentschel. McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership, 2014.

Modern ECE Professional Learning Communities

In this recorded webinar, early childhood researcher Ellen Galinsky observes 10 key characteristics of successful professional learning communities. Early Childhood Investigations Webinars, 2012.

All Things PLC

At this website dedicated to professional learning communities, find research and free tools such as protocols, schedules and templates, to facilitate PLC’s in your school or program. Solution Tree Inc., 2015

Critical Friends Groups

Access free protocols and resources to establish a critical friends group– a peer learning format focused on collaborative learning and structured interactions – focused on improving practice and child outcomes. National School Reform Faculty, 2014.

School Reform Initiative – A Community of Learners

This site houses a rich array of free resources and protocols dedicated to creating learning communities, facilitative leadership, and approaches to adult collaborative learning. School Reform Initiative, 2015.

Data Wise

The Data Wise project offers a step-by-step process that teams of leaders and educators can use data to work collaboratively on teaching improvements. Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2015.

Ladder of Feedback for Classroom Observations Protocol

Use this protocol for providing feedback in peer learning communities in a structured, constructive way that builds a culture of trust and improvement. Ron Ritchart, adapted from Daniel Wilson, Harvard Project Zero, YEAR.

The Power of Protocols*

This book provides step-by-step descriptions of how leaders and educators can use protocols effectively to learn, work, and improve together. Teachers College Press, 2013.

Lesson Study Resources

Lesson Study Research Group

This site provides an overview of the power of lesson study as a peer learning group format focused on improving instruction, with helpful FAQs at the bottom of the page. Lesson Study Research Group, Teachers College Columbia University, 2002.

Lesson Study Group at Mills College

Explore these free resources to help facilitate effective lesson study in your school to improve instruction. Access presentation slides at the bottom of the page for an overview. Mills College, YEAR.

Lesson Study Step-by-Step*

This book from Jacqueline Hurd and Catherine Lewis provides a step-by-step guide to establishing lesson study, including sample schedules, agendas, protocols and templates. Heinemann, 2011.

Lesson Study: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Facilitators*

This book is a “how-to” that guides leaders and educators in establishing or deepening a lesson study cycle to encourage educators to generate and share knowledge. Corwin Press, 2007.