Effective professional learning is embedded in teachers’ everyday practice, research shows, with opportunities to apply new learning followed by self-reflection and feedback. Administrators can embed professional learning in teachers’ daily work life by enabling teacher-leaders to take responsibility for this critical task. Teacher-leaders tasked with leading or facilitating teacher teams toward improved student outcomes have daily time to collaborate with their team, and observe, develop, and model skills for them.
To find time for those tasks, schools may create blocks of time in the schedule for team collaboration, have students spend some time learning the basics online, and have paraprofessionals supervise students while they work individually, in small groups, or online.
In addition to building professional learning time into the existing school day, an increasing number of schools fund longer school days and years, and devote a portion of that time to teacher-led professional learning. A recent survey identified more than 1,500 schools with expanded learning time.
Below you will find links to resources on the following topics:
- General Resources on Finding Time for Teacher-Led Professional Learning
- Expanded Learning
- Sample Schedules
- Case Studies
General Resources on Finding Time for Teacher-Led Professional Learning
Time Use Strategies for Teacher-Led Professional Learning: Chart provides overview of strategies schools use to find professional learning time and basic requirements to implement each strategy
Establishing Time for Professional Learning: Learning Forward provides step-by-step guide for schools and districts to increasing collaborative learning time
Professional Learning Plans: A Workbook for States, Districts, and Schools: Learning Forward workbook includes a section on finding time for professional learning
High-Quality Professional Development for All Teachers: Effectively Allocating Resources: National Comprehensive Center for Teaching Quality issue brief includes how to find time and estimate costs for professional learning and repurpose existing time
The Case for Improving and Expanding Time in School: A Review of Key Research and Practice: National Center on Time and Learning research review show benefits of longer school day and/or year, including dedicated time for collaboration and embedded professional learning
Out of the Debate and Into the Schools: Comparing Practices and Strategies in Traditional, Pilot and Charter Schools in the City of Boston: American Institutes of Research report studies extended days in Boston schools, with focus on use of teachers’ time in high-performing schools
Time for Teachers: Leveraging Expanded Learning Time To Strengthen Instruction and Empower Teachers: National Center on Time and Learning report on how highly effective schools have used six practices to expand learning time, including assessment charts schools can use for each practice
Establishing Time for Professional Learning: Example schedules from Learning Forward show how schools repurpose planning time, use block scheduling
All Things PLC: Includes example schedules for block scheduling and using paraprofessionals to supervise lunch
Designing Schedules to Support Professional Learning Communities: Report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals presents elementary school options to create time for professional learning https://www.naesp.org/resources/2/Leadership_Compass/2007/LC2007v5n2a1.pdf
Opportunity Culture Example Schedules for Rotation and Specialization Models: Public Impact’s examples show how teachers can use blended learning or subject specialization to gain professional learning time
Connected Professional Learning: White paper, diagnostic tool, and 4 case studies from Education Resource Strategies explore shifts in how school systems organize resources—moving from one-size-fits all workshops and pay for advanced degrees—toward time and instructional leaders.
Charlotte, N.C.’s Project L.I.F.T.: New Teaching Roles Create Culture of Excellence in High-Need Schools: Study shows how Opportunity Culture models for Multi-Classroom Leadership and Time-Technology Swap provide more planning, collaboration, and co-teaching time for teachers and teacher-leaders
National Center on Time and Learning: Case Studies: Covers four schools using increased time for teacher-led professional learning to improve student learning