The Solution Is In The Room

Teacher voices power conversation protocol

By Donna Spangler
June 2017
Vol. 38 No. 3
Professional learning can encompass a wide range of formal or informal activities and interactions: seminars, informal hallway discussions, university courses, workshops, local and national conferences, co-teaching, mentoring, data discussions about student work, book clubs, teacher networks, and inservice days. While many experiences may lead to professional learning, participation alone isn’t enough. We also need to know whether these learning experiences are effective. What structures, processes, and forms of evaluation are useful to consider when designing effective professional learning and evaluation? For example, consider the term “inservice.” It has become a dreaded word that makes teachers cringe and roll their eyes. That’s not because of a lack of interest in increasing their teacher knowledge and skills, making effective changes to instruction, and improving student learning. The

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Donna Spangler

Donna Spangler ( is the middle school instructional coach and Spanish teacher in Derry Township School District in Pennsylvania.


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers know best: Teachers’ views on professional development. Seattle, WA: Author.

Calvert, L. (2016). Moving from compliance to agency: What teachers need to make professional learning work. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward & NCTAF.

Cochran-Smith, M. & Lytle, S.I. (1999). Relationships of knowledge and practice: Teacher learning in communities. Review of Research in Education, 24, 249-305.

Desimone, L.M. (2009). Improving impact studies of teachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational Researcher, 38(3), 181-199.

Guskey, T.R. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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