What I've Learned

Let's focus on quality of instruction rather than quantity

By Michael McNeff
April 2017
Vol. 38 No. 2
First, I admit that I have arranged bad professional learning for teachers in the past. Unfortunately, school leaders often look for presenters and initiatives that fill the time allotted. Most school districts have set aside days that are assigned to professional learning. Many administrators struggle to develop a professional learning program that is individualized and meaningful for all teachers. The easiest and least effective way to address professional development is to provide one-size-fits-all professional learning opportunities, which means only a portion of attendees finds it valuable. Many of us have sat through hours of professional development and, within the first five minutes, realized, “None of this applies to my subject area or grade level.” This is the struggle for school leaders who plan professional learning

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Michael McNeff ( is superintendent of Rugby Public Schools in North Dakota.


Dufour, R., Dufour, R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2006). Learning by doing. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

Knight, J. (2011). Unmistakable impact: A partnership approach for dramatically improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

National Staff Development Council. (2009, April). Ensure great teaching for every student. NSDC Policy Points, 1(2), 1.

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