The Learning Professional is the flagship publication of Learning Forward. The magazine is published six times a year and is included in all categories of membership in Learning Forward.
The Learning Professional editors looks for practical articles by leading educators that show the challenges and successes related to implementing professional learning grounded in the Standards for Professional Learning. They expect articles that are interesting, thought provoking, timely, practical, informative, concise, and complete.
Issues are organized around themes. Authors are encouraged to submit articles for the upcoming themes. In addition, the editors look for articles that reflect Learning Forward’s current organizational priorities, which include educational equity, professional learning linked to high-quality instructional materials, and research on the impact of professional learning. Most issues also include a small number of articles that are non-thematic.
The Learning Professional offers no payment for articles. Decisions regarding publication are made by The Learning Professional editor and other staff. The Learning Professional is not peer- or blind-reviewed. Learning Forward reserves the right to reject poor quality or untimely material, whether solicited or otherwise, at any time during the editing process. Initial acceptance of an article is not a guarantee of publication.
Manuscripts, editorial correspondence, and questions about submissions should be sent to:
Issue themes 2019-2020
December 2019: Demystifying coaching
Coaching is an increasingly popular approach to professional learning that can and should be job-embedded, sustained, and data-driven. But questions remain about how to make coaching as accessible and effective as it can be. This issue will tackle questions of fundamental importance for everyone from the newest to the most seasoned coaches and from school administrators to district and state leaders who oversee, support, and learn from coaches’ work. Specific topics of interest include: What is the difference between coaching and mentoring, and can you do both at the same time? Who coaches the coaches? What unique opportunities and challenges does video coaching present? How can we evaluate the effectiveness of coaching?
February 2020: Listening to student voice
The best professional learning is driven by student needs, and students are the ultimate beneficiaries of improved teaching. But are we incorporating student voice and perspective when we plan and implement professional learning? This issue will examine how to go beyond student records data to really put students at the center of professional learning. We’re looking for articles about what students wish teachers knew about their needs; how to get student input into planning; how to use student data in combination with student perspectives; and beyond.
We encourage submissions from young people writing on their own or in collaboration with educators. Please note clearly if you are submitting as or with a student.
For this issue, we will also consider video content that may be included in the digital version of the issue and/or posted through our online channels. Videos should be sent as a link (not an attachment) and should be no longer than ten minutes. Those submitting videos are responsible for securing permissions; Learning Forward may ask to see documentation of permissions if your video is accepted.
Deadline: Extended to December 1, 2019
April 2020: Beyond the basics
This issue will cover “nuts and bolts” strategies for learning professionals to deepen their work and improve teaching and learning in their schools or systems. Topics might include how to be a great facilitator; why you should incorporate storytelling into professional learning; navigating difficult conversations about race and other topics; using formative assessment; and documenting professional learning strategies and impact. We encourage writers to draw on research and experience not only in professional learning but from the worlds of business, nonprofit management, and beyond.
Deadline: January 15, 2020
June 2020: Strengthening the teacher pipeline
Improving teaching for all students requires educators to engage in high-quality learning throughout the career continuum, from pre-service to ongoing professional learning to preparation for leadership and other career steps. But there has historically been little opportunity to connect adult learning across the continuum. At best, this is a missed opportunity, and at worst, it can lead to skills gaps that cause frustration for teachers and students alike, even driving turnover among teachers who are insufficiently prepared and supported. This issue will examine how to make the continuum of educator preparation and support more intentional and systemic. Topics might include: district-university partnerships; leveraging licensure and relicensure to improve professional learning; and how reauthorization of the Higher Education Act can connect with and support ongoing professional learning.
Deadline: February 1, 2020
August 2020: Technology that teaches
Technology offers promising new avenues for professional learning like video consultation, “bug-in-ear” coaching, personalized professional learning “playlists,” and even virtual reality. But how do we make sure that tech-supported professional learning maintains the necessary focus on quality, that it is collaborative, sustained, job-embedded, and data-driven? How do we ensure that convenience and accessibility don’t overshadow depth and student needs? This issue will explore these questions and others, and highlight successful ways technology is enhancing and improving professional learning.
Deadline: May 1, 2020
The Learning Professional looks for brief (2,000-2,500 words) manuscripts that are helpful to practicing pre-K-12 educators and administrators, as well as those who support their work (e.g., nonprofit organizations, higher education). Published articles will have as their primary focus professional learning and may include the purpose and goals of the learning, what the learning looks like, the support and context related to successful implementation, who is involved, and the results and impact of the learning.
Our primary audience is education leaders, including superintendents and other district staff; principals and assistant principals; directors of professional learning, directors of curriculum and instruction, and other administrators responsible for professional learning; instructional coaches and other leaders of professional learning; lead teachers and classroom teachers; along with those who lead, conceive, or evaluate professional learning from organizations outside of schools or school systems, for example universities and non-profit organizations.
Highest consideration will be given to work that is aligned with the Standards for Professional Learning and can provide data demonstrating improvements in educator practices and/or student learning.
We prefer articles written in an informal, conversational style. Writers should avoid educational jargon and complicated phrasing. They should write in simple, direct sentences. When appropriate, writers may share their stories in the first person.
We discourage the use of lengthy quotations from other published work. References to previous research and writing should be in support of and woven into the writer’s unique arguments or insights. We look for articles that make a unique contribution and generally do not publish literature reviews unless they have a new and specific application or insight.
Writers should look for opportunities to break out interesting information into separate "sidebars'' to run with the main article.
If methodology is essential for understanding, please include that in a sidebar and not in the main text of the manuscript. Writers also can include a list of additional resources (books, articles, videos, web sites) that are not referenced directly in the article. Where appropriate, graphs and charts also can be used to illustrate key points. Writers should provide the raw data for such charts and not attempt to produce a publishable graphic on their own.
How to submit your manuscript
Submissions should be sent by email, as attachments in Microsoft Word format or a comparable word processing program, not as pdfs. Submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
Cover page should include
- Suggested title of article. (Please note that all titles are subject to change by Learning Forward.)
- Writer's name.
- The theme and date of issue for which the manuscript is being submitted.
- Complete contact information for the writer(s), including phone, address, and e-mail address. This information is essential for follow up contact.
- Writer's current professional position. You may also identify any major articles or books you have recently published.
- A word count.
Learning Forward acknowledges every manuscript that is received. Writers should expect a confirmation message within several weeks of the manuscript deadline.
The Learning Professional editor and other staff review each submission to determine its appropriateness for The Learning Professional. Manuscripts are either accepted as submitted, returned for revisions, or rejected.
We ask that you not submit manuscripts that are currently under consideration or in process with another publication.
An early option for writers: Well in advance of the final deadline, writers can submit by e-mail a brief synopsis of a few hundred words regarding an article they would like to write. Either the editor or the director of communications of The Learning Professional will respond regarding the appropriateness of the idea and offer early guidance about producing such an article.
Style and references
Writers are responsible for providing complete and accurate references, as appropriate. For references, The Learning Professional adapts guidelines established in the most recent Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Writers are expected to ensure that their references comply with those guidelines.
Cite references in text like this (Sparks, 1997) and list them in bibliographic form at the end of the article. See a recent issue of The Learning Professional for examples of citations.
Authors bear full responsibility for the accuracy of citations, quotations, and information supplied for figures and charts. For questions of spelling, we use Webster's Eleventh Edition Collegiate Dictionary.
Where appropriate, writers also can include a list of additional resources, even if they are not directly cited in the article.
The editing process
If your article is accepted, it will be edited for publication by the editor and managing editor and will also be copy edited.
During this process, the editor is likely to contact you to clarify certain points. Because we strive for high-quality writing, your article is likely to undergo substantial editing, including some rewriting and reorganizing. Remember that this is a normal part of the editing process for any publication with high standards. Don't be startled or upset that an editor is changing your article. The editor's goal is to produce the most readable and interesting article possible for the magazine's targeted audience. Your help and understanding in this process is greatly appreciated.
You will receive an edited version to review, correct, and approve. Typically, you will be asked to return the article within several days.
When you receive this final edited version, you also will receive a copyright form. Signing that form gives Learning Forward permission to print your article in The Learning Professional, to post it on our web site, and to use it for other electronic purposes. When signing this form, you verify that your work is original. Authors are responsible for citing other works as appropriate and seeking permissions to include artifacts or elements that are not original.
The Learning Professional encourages writers to submit appropriate photographs to illustrate their articles. We prefer full-color, high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) jpgs.
When a photograph has been accepted, please include a note with each photograph that:
- Identifies the individuals pictured;
- Describes what they are doing and where; and
- Names the photographer.
Writers are responsible for obtaining written permission for publication from the subjects of the photographs. If photographs have been published by a local newspaper or magazine, we will make the necessary contacts to obtain those photos if you will provide us with the appropriate information. The Learning Professional also will bear the cost of purchasing such photographs.
When your article is published
Writers receives two complimentary copies of the issue containing their published articles. Those copies will be mailed as soon as they are received in The Learning Professional office. In addition, writers will receive instructions for purchasing additional copies if they wish to do so.