I’m finally going to finish summarizing the last section of the book Transforming Professional Development into Student Results by Douglas B. Reeves. The section is titled “How to Sustain High-Impact Professional Learning?” and is divided into 3 chapters.
Ch. 10 Beyond “Train the Trainer”
Reeve’s begins by reminding us of the etymology of the word ‘train’ – which isn’t very appealing. And even when you get to the definition implied by most when referring to training teachers, it reads, “Discipline and teach (an animal) to obey orders or perform tricks; school and prepare (a horse, especially a racehorse) for competition.” The definition of trainer is just as bad.
It’s amazing how schools still get excited about teachers who have had various ‘trainings’ in programs, rather than focus on growing the people and practices already in place.
There are 8 essentials for sustainable improvement:
- Public service with a moral purpose
- Commitment to changing context at all levels
- Lateral capacity building through networks
- Intelligent accountability and vertical relationships (encompassing both capacity building and accountability)
- Deep Learning
- Dual commitment to short-term and long-term results
- Cyclical energizing
- The long lever of leadership
The longer the list of things to be done and criteria to be met, the lower the probability that the list will be accomplished. Furthermore, this is to be done collectively and continuously. Such a tall order requires influence which Reeves describes is the result of a combination of personal motivation and ability, social motivation and ability, and structural motivation and ability – and avoid or eliminate counterproductive influences.
Ch. 11 Performance Assessment for Teachers and Administrators
Assessment should be thought of as a process designed to improve learning. That’s what we’re supposed to do with kids. Not judge them at the end by their performance on some test (that’s a different kind of assessment, not one designed to improve learning).
Reeves provides several models and rubrics in this chapter for assessments for teachers and administrators. The bottom line though, is that it should be linked to student performance. “When the assessments of teachers, leader, and learning teams are all aligned to support student learning, great things happen. Not only does student achievement improve, but the valuable time of teachers and administrators is focused in the right places at the right time.”
Ch. 12 High-Impact Learning In Action
Reeves spends the last chapter of the book describing a school that has been successful in implementing effective change. But he doesn’t leave us with a happily ever after ending. Like most things, growth and improvement is a work in progress.
I have to say that I thought this book was going to be a little dry and filled with too much data (it’s all there in the appendix though if you’re really interested), but like the back of the book says, “If you’re tired of professional development that takes up too much time and delivers too little, read Transforming Professional Development into Student Results and discover how to move toward a system that gives educators the learning experiences they need to make a measurable difference for their schools and their students.”