- The more professionally engaged teachers are, the more
engaged their students are likely to be; a teacher's professional
development often validates his or her work to students.
- One way teachers help students learn is by continuing
to learn themselves.
- Good professional development is experiential and
leads teachers to rethink teaching and learning while
providing new ways to approach classroom instruction
- Student populations are different than they were 10 or
20 years ago; understanding these differences and meeting
the educational needs of these students requires different
instructional strategies than many of those used in the
past. As our society and the world change, educators have
to rethink what they do and how they do it if they are to
- Many teachers find attending the Summer Institutes run
by local sites of the National Writing Project, or joining
professional organizations such as the National Council
of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association,
help them stay abreast of current developments in education
and return to the classroom informed and refreshed.
- Teachers have to be willing to take risks and try
out new ideas and strategies for professional development
experiences to be useful.
- Teachers need to be thoughtful and reflective about
professional development experiences, considering what
they are learning in the context of their own classroom
communities and their own teaching styles.
- Professional development experiences may involve the
opportunity to meet and talk with the authors of books
students are reading; such encounters can provide rich
starting points for later literary discussions in the
- Teachers who see themselves as learners validate the processes
of learning for their students.
- In envisionment-building classrooms, every student's viewpoint
is essential. When teachers learn new techniques or new
approaches to a text, they often find new ways to engage
those different viewpoints. Students for whom our instruction
is ineffective challenge us to find new approaches.
- Teachers need their own community of professionals within
which they can raise questions, share problems, and examine
their classroom successes and failures.
- Research suggests that student learning is enhanced
in places where teachers and other education professionals
get together regularly to share ideas and support one
another's professional development.
- In addition to workshops and professional reading,
many teachers turn to mentors throughout their professional
life to help their continuing evolution.
- Professional conferences provide opportunities to develop
a network of teacher peers with whom to share ideas.
- One way teachers can support one another professionally
is by observing and offering feedback on each other's
- The most effective professional development activities
are those that originate with problems teachers have and
offer opportunities for teachers to explore and test various
solutions. Effective teachers constantly pose questions
and seek answers centered on their teaching and their students'
- Thoughtful long-term planning is essential to effective
teaching because it enables linking classroom experiences
into a coherent learning sequence.
- Many teachers begin their long-term planning with
a list of things they want students to know and be able
to do by the end of the year.
- Some teachers begin their planning by reviewing student
evaluations from earlier years.
- Goals or standards established by the state or by
the school district provide a starting point for other
teachers when they plan.
- Knowing the student population and targeting planning
to meet its needs leads to effective instruction.
- When doing interdisciplinary planning, teachers identify
the ideas and issues that are central to each discipline
and focus on those that the disciplines have in common.
Research does not show that students necessarily learn
better as the result of an interdisciplinary approach,
but such approaches offer students different ways to
interact with the curriculum.
- A central aspect of planning in an envisionment-building
classroom is determining what literature to offer students.
- Some teachers try to find one or two new books to
offer students each year. Some teachers choose readings
with a thematic focus; others choose readings by a single
- Choosing a focus for the literature helps students
make connections between and among the different works
throughout the year.
- In addition to identifying the topics that will be discussed,
good planning involves consideration of the kinds of experiences
students will have with the literature.
- Clear long-term goals provide teachers with the flexibility
to adjust short-term activities to meet emerging student
needs without losing sight of the overall plan.