Learning along the Way: Professional Development by and for Teachers

Learning along the Way: Professional Development by and for Teachers

Learning along the Way: Professional Development by and for Teachers

Learning along the Way: Professional Development by and for Teachers


Can your school or district improve its approach to building expertise among teachers, both those new to the profession and those interested in refining their craft? Diane Sweeney, currently a literacy specialist with the Public Education & Business Coalition, tells the story of how the inner-city public school in Denver where she was a teacher and literacy coach used learner-centered professional development to achieve outstanding gains in teacher knowledge and effectiveness.

In Learning Along the Way, you will see concrete examples of how your school can move away from a one-size-fits-all professional development model to create an authentic learning environment that meets the needs of individual teachers. The book features chapters that focus on:

  • implementing an instructional coaching model;
  • establishing study groups among teachers;
  • using observation as a means to model effective instruction;
  • going deeper with discussion through the use of Critical Friends protocols;
  • examining various ways adults process new information;
  • encouraging teachers to take leadership roles;
  • focusing the principal's leadership around the professional development model.

Replete with real-life anecdotes and practical steps offered at the end of each chapter, this book will be useful to any teacher or administrator interested in rethinking the way they look at professional development.


It is virtually impossible to create and
sustain over time conditions for
productive learning for students when
they do not exist for teachers.

—Seymour Sarason

The school parking lot fills a few minutes before 8 A.M. Lunches are stashed in the fridge and we head to our weekly professional development meeting. Teachers, classroom assistants, administrators, and the math and literacy coaches converge on the first-grade classroom where today's meeting will be held. Child-size chairs and desks fill the classroom, and an easel sits in the corner next to a small table draped with a colorful tablecloth and stacked with markers, a tape recorder, and a lamp radiating soft light. Beautiful picture books line the ledge beneath the chalkboard, and the walls are papered with writing, art projects, and other student work. Tables are grouped so children can work together, and atop each one sits brightly colored plastic bins of books and folders. It is clear that this is a classroom designed for children's learning. But for now, Christina's classroom will be home to teacher learning. For this hour, Starbucks mugs and half-eaten bagels rest next to the bins of children's books. For this hour our staff will come together to learn how to become better teachers of writing.

Writer's workshop is used throughout the school, and even with years of experience, many of us still struggle with both the organization of writing time and elevating the quality of student writing. With this in mind, a few teachers volunteered to share how they use writer's notebooks with their students. In the weeks before the meeting, every teacher was given a copy of Ralph Fletcher's A

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