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|Supporting Integrated English Learner Student Instruction: A Guide to Assess Professional Learning Needs Based on the Teaching Academic Content and Literacy to English Learners in Elementary and Middle School Practice Guide
This guide is designed to help district and school site leaders assess the professional learning needs of elementary school teachers to implement research-based recommendations for the instruction of English learner students. It comprises two tools—the Teacher Self-Reflection Tool and the Classroom Observation Tool—and outlines a 10-step process to help districts align their professional learning decisions with the data collected from these tools.
|Professional Learning Community: Improving Mathematical Problem Solving for Students in Grades 4 Through 8 Facilitator's Guide
REL Southeast developed this facilitator's guide on the topic of mathematical problem solving for use in professional learning community (PLC) settings. The facilitator's guide is a set of professional development materials designed to supplement the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide, Improving Mathematical Problem Solving in Grades 4 Through 8 (Woodward et al., 2012). The practice guide provides research-based recommendations for teachers to incorporate into their classroom practice. The facilitator's guide is designed to complement and extend the practice guide by providing teachers in a PLC setting with additional, step-by-step guidance for the best ways to implement some of these evidence-based recommendations.
The facilitator's guide focuses on three of the five recommendations from the mathematics problem solving practice guide to ensure in-depth coverage of the topics and to provide ample practice opportunities and time for reflection. The three practice guide recommendations on which the facilitator's guide is based are: teach students how to use visual representations (Recommendation 3), expose students to multiple problem-solving strategies (Recommendation 4), and help students recognize and articulate mathematical concepts and notation (Recommendation 5). REL Southeast chose these three recommendations because they are interrelated and include critical content to address the two high-leverage regional needs communicated by the Improving Mathematics Instruction Research Alliance which include improving classroom discourse in mathematics and enhancing students' mathematical problem-solving skills.
|Reflections from a professional learning community for researchers working in research alliances
The purpose of this project was to share the lessons learned about the common challenges that Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest researchers brought to a professional learning community, the strategies they identified to address the challenges, and the tools used to ultimately overcome those shared challenges. The lessons highlighted in this document are observations made by the professional learning community members and senior REL Midwest staff during the 2012-2017 REL contract. Researchers experienced three common challenges: adjusting to changing roles and additional responsibilities; planning for and engaging in consistent, meaningful interactions with practitioner partners; and developing products that speak directly to their intended audience. To overcome these challenges, researchers developed and carried out three strategies: built a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities that they and their practitioner partners' needed to play; honed communication and facilitation skills; and co-developed plans with their practitioner partners for how to communicate about the partnership and its projects. Several tools were developed to support the implementation of these strategies. These lessons come from one professional learning community's experience and therefore may not be generalizable to all researchers. However, the intent is to inform others as they work to support researchers’ efforts to engage in authentic collaboration with their practitioner partners.
|Measurement instruments for assessing the performance of professional learning communities
This annotated bibliography is a compilation of valid and reliable measures of key performance indicators of teacher professional learning communities (PLCs). The research team employed a rigorous process of searching and screening the scientific literature and other sources for relevant qualitative and quantitative instruments, followed by a careful review and evaluation of each instrument against established standards of measurement quality, such as reliability and validity, as well as the instrument’s ability to detect a variable’s change over time. This resource, which is organized according to key elements of a PLC logic model (i.e., a model that describes how PLCs are expected to operate to achieve their goals), is intended for researchers, practitioners, and education professionals who seek to engage in evidence-based planning, implementation, and evaluation of teacher PLCs. The PLC-related measurement instruments identified in this project include 31 quantitative and 18 qualitative instruments that assess a range of teacher/principal-, team-, and student-level variables.
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