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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Development and Leadership Research Review

Vanessa Vega
Former Edutopia Senior Manager of Research

Research has shown that teaching quality is the strongest school-related factor that can improve student learning and achievement. In order to cultivate high-quality teaching, support for ongoing professional learning in schools is essential. Edutopia's teacher development and leadership research review takes a look at the state of research on this topic and helps make sense of the findings. In this series of five articles, learn how effective leadership supports professional learning, discover key components for productive professional-development programs and professional learning communities, get our recommendations for evidence-based programs and practices, find tips for avoiding pitfalls, and dig in to a comprehensive annotated bibliography with links to all the studies and reports cited in these pages.

Schools That Work:

Daily collaborative planning time at Mesquite Elementary enables teachers to plan differentiated instruction to address the progress of each student. Learn more about this school.

Credit: Zachary Fink

Developing systems that support teachers in sustained professional learning and refinement of teaching practice is perhaps the single most important way to promote student learning and educational opportunity in schools or districts. Across the research reviewed here, systems that effectively support teacher development include collaborative, job-embedded feedback cycles that enable teachers to reflect critically on teaching practices in order to identify those that best promote students’ learning and engagement. In addition, administrator support for professional learning and teachers playing an active role in their own learning are critical for these systems to work. You will find much greater detail on the features that make these systems effective, along with research citations to support their efficacy, in the next section.

Continue to the next section of the Teacher Development Research Review, Keys to Educator Success.

Teacher Development Overview

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Jennifer Thurston's picture
Jennifer Thurston
Executive Director Weaselskin Institute, Owner Weaselskin Equestrian Center

Weaselskin Institute is a charitable non-profit educational and scientific research organization with its mission to foster programs for teachers, counselors, coaches and graduate students on the ideals ensuing from
Wildlife habitat and archaeological area conservation
Equine experiential education
Athletic and healthy lifestyle promotion and coaching enrichment
Sustainable agriculture and forest product development
Energy research on renewable resources
Local social and cultural collaboration
Research of the economic and cultural value in the areas of the institute's interest shall be encouraged and established. Dissemination of the knowledge gained through the research will be done at local, regional and national levels. Weaselskin Institute will accomplish its goals by coordinating the facilities for, and organization of:
* Seminars, in the areas of the institute's interests, that are open to all regional educational institutions as well as independent teacher organizations
* Professional assistance for members research projects.
* Public fundraising events, for member non-profits that share the same value in improving educational systems and opportunities for future generations

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