Academic journal article Language Arts

Three Priorities for Professional Development in Literacy

Academic journal article Language Arts

Three Priorities for Professional Development in Literacy

Article excerpt

Those of us who provide professional development for teachers know the challenges and benefits involved in implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS): all teachers are now literacy teachers; all teachers are held accountable for well-paced, high-quality instruction; and teacher evaluation is tied to teachers' ability to use and document their professional skills and knowledge. What is different in this case from any other standards movement is that our students are not the first learners here-our teachers are the learners. They are learning a new literacy, and student learning cannot be achieved without real teacher learning.

Research confirms what teacher preparation programs have espoused for decades, that three priorities maximize learning: cognitive engagement, constructivism, and building background knowledge. We know these conditions will help move all learners from one level of skill and understanding to the next. School districts, when given freedom to design effective implementation plans, must approach teacher professional learning in the same manner for three reasons:

* Cognitive engagement doesn't happen when teachers must align their whole year's curriculum in one summer, with little scaffolding and differentiation. …

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