The crux of any ASB R&D Task Force’s work is found in the recommendations that emerge from the
research. On the basis of our findings, the task force wrote the following recommendations and
presented them to ASB’s Leadership Team.
Recommendation 1: Replace the term “professional development” with “professional learning” (PL) to
better describe the expectations and attitudes that all faculty should have toward their own professional
growth. This recommendation is based on efforts of the former National Staff Development Council
(NSDC), now called Learning Forward, which has explicitly replaced the term “professional
development” with the term “professional learning” to more accurately describe what should be
occurring in the realm of teacher growth and learning (Sorenson, et al, 2011).
This is a significant shift, as “professional development implies something that is done to someone or
something, but professional learning implies personal commitment. Learning occurs deep within. It is
not done to anyone. (Sorenson, et al, 2011). According to Lois Brown Easton, a person cannot be
“learned” by another, but rather “learning is ongoing, and ultimately, in the hands of the learner.
Recommendation 2: Disconnect performance appraisal from professional learning and link it to evidence
of teaching and learning.
As the current evaluative practice assesses teacher learning instead of teacher impact on student
learning, the task force makes the following recommendations regarding teacher performance
Principals and other supervisors utilize evaluative practices that focus on how effectively
teachers promote student growth and learning. These evaluations can include teacher
observations, data related to student learning, and contributions to learning in other areas.
It is acknowledged that personalized learning is important for students and teachers alike. When
it is clear from authentic evaluations by a supervisor that a teacher is deficient in areas of
classroom practice, that supervisor can utilize a personalized “action plan” to help that teacher
gain proficiency in the identified area(s). Of course, failure to progress in this area would be
measurable through classroom observations and other evaluative practices.
Recommendation 3: Institute teacher choice professional learning that transfers the responsibilities of
professional learning and record-keeping to self-directed learner/educators.
Personalized professional learning in school would:
Require learners to keep their own records of personal professional learning throughout the
year. This can be done in the form of blogs, journals, portfolios, videos or other forums where
teachers can record and reflect upon their professional growth.
Require each learner to develop and maintain a flexible professional learning network. This may
include colleagues both from within and outside of a teacher’s school. These flexible PLNs would
naturally change over time along with the learners professional learning needs and pursuits.