Designing Training and
Peer Coaching: Our Needs
In the early 1980s, we published a review of research on training design and a set of hypotheses relating to transfer of new learning to classroom practice (Joyce & Showers, 1980). In the 20 years since, two notable changes have occurred in the field of staff development. First, the duration and intensity of many training events have greatly increased, including various forms of follow-up and continuing technical support; and second, one-shot events tend to be carefully prefaced with, “This session is for awareness only.” In other words, we've achieved greater clarity between objectives that entail the acquisition of information and those that include changes in educational practice.
Gradually, we have made substantial changes in our framework for thinking about staff development in the years since this book first appeared. We've been influenced by the work of organizational and change theorists (Fullan, 1990, 2001; Huberman, 1992; Miles, 1992; Seashore-Louis & Miles, 1990). Our own numerous attempts to work with districts, schools, teams of teachers, and individuals to increase student growth in all its manifestations have ripened some of our concepts and altered others. The school/school district complex is clearer to us. The learning environment that students experience is located in schools. The school is the organizational unit where curricular and instructional changes take place, and the challenge is for them to become self-renewing organizations where the faculties continually seek to improve the educational environment. The school district greatly affects what will happen in the school. The district creates the overall structure for staff development (including provisions for time), helps schools locate promising options, and generates initiatives across curriculum areas that schools cannot mount by themselves.
We have also continued to refine a training design that enables teachers to learn and use new knowledge and behaviors that translate