Kathryn Roots Lewis explores how educators can partner with school librarians to provide professional development, as she and David Loertscher discussed in “Where’s Waldo? Finding a PD Partner” (Educational Leadership, May 2014).
As I think about my most meaningful professional development experiences—what I took from those experiences and why they stuck with me—I realize they all had the characteristics mentioned in Standards for Professional Learning, Learning Forward’s guide to standards for PD. My most beneficial experiences weren’t “sit and git.” Instead, colleagues and I identified what we wanted to learn, the PD was provided at my point of need, and I could immediately use my new learning in a welcoming environment, with a mentor to help if I struggled.
In our article in the May 2014 issue of Educational Leadership, David Loertscher and I propose that one way to build a culture where PD is embedded into teachers’ everyday work is by partnering with librarians and other school-based specialists. With this kind of embedded professional learning, PD becomes a catalyst for growth. It leads to a culture in which teachers and students can explore and develop ideas collaboratively, deciding which to reject and which to adopt in a supportive atmosphere. Our article provides rich examples of such partnerships and learning strategies.
One starting point for conversations about partnering with librarians to implement teaching and learning strategies in new ways is Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the School Librarian, a free action brief published jointly by Achieve and the American Association of School Librarians. The action brief contains a wide variety of ideas for incorporating information resources and technology applications that can have a direct impact on teaching and learning.
David and I would like to hear your thoughts about using job-embedded PD models that involve partnering with school librarians. Have you partnered with your librarian to provide professional development for teachers? And in an era when technology changes so swiftly, how could students themselves be our partners in improving teaching and learning?