Professional Learning Opportunities

Every Student Deserves an Equitable Opportunity to Succeed.

About Professional Learning Opportunities

Teachers can learn to use high leverage practices (HLPs) when they have effective opportunities to practice using the HLPs  in thoughtful ways. To support teacher educators’ use of HLPs, the CEEDAR Center, in collaboration with Educator Preparation Program  faculty across the country, have collected a set of effective practice opportunities that we refer to as professional learning opportunities or PLOs. We also outline the structure for the various PLOs we include.

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Effective PLOs are characterized by several key features. They provide: (add bullet related to “models of how to plan to use HLPs)

  • Models of how to plan to use HLPs in instruction
  • models of how HLPs can be enacted successfully
  • opportunities to use the HLPs in simulated and authentic settings
  • opportunities to receive feedback on and analyze their use of the HLPs.

These features should be integrated into PLOs. They may not be present in every PLO, but they should be present across the various PLOs incorporated in preparation and professional development programs. Teacher educators and school district personnel should also consider how to  provide teacher candidates and beginning teachers with scaffolded opportunities to learn; that is, PLOs  need to be structured so they increase in complexity over time, and provide less support for learning as teacher candidates and beginning teachers develop more skill.  For instance, an HLP may be enacted first in a simulated setting with peers, second a small group setting with k-12 students (e.g., tutoring one or two students in pull out instruction), and finally in a classroom setting with k-12 students.

McDonald and colleagues (2013) have proposed a model of enactment for the PLOs that captures the above features and demonstrates how teacher learning can be scaffolded over time. This model of enactment includes four phases:

  • introducing and learning about the activity,
  • preparing for and rehearsing the activity,
  • enacting the activity with students, and
  • analyzing enactment and moving forward.

In phase one, candidates and novice teachers have opportunities to read about the practice and observe models of its effective enactment through either video exemplars, live models, or written case studies. In phase two, they have collaborative opportunities to plan to use the HLP, and then rehearse its use through microteaching, role play, or simulations. After practicing the HLP, they receive feedback from peers and experts, such as supervising teacher educators or mentor teachers. This feedback focuses on the quality of their implementation efforts and the learning opportunities they afforded students. In phase three, candidates and novice teachers plan and implement the HLPs with k-12 students. Mentor teachers may plan with candidates and novice teachers how to use the HLP, model how to use the HLPs during instruction, provide feedback on implementation efforts and student learning. Candidates and novice teachers also have opportunities to analyze their instruction and its impact on student learning through such strategies such as video analysis and peer feedback[1]. Although individual PLOs may be situated in one or two phases, teacher education and beginning teacher induction programs should construct and sequence PLOs so that they address all phases of the enactment cycle.

We already have videos that are posted on this website that provide teachers with models of the HLPs. In this resource, we present PLOs that are organized according to specific HLPs. For each HLP, we define the type of PLO provided, ,describe the phases of the enactment cycle it addresses, provide information about how to implement the PLO, and describe what teacher educators and professional development providers need to know to enact the PLO. This includes information such as pre-teaching that must occur, materials needed for implementing the PLO, challenges teacher educators and candidates might encounter and strategies for addressing these challenges. You will notice that the same PLO may be employed to teach different HLPs; however, we thought it would be helpful to teacher educators and mentor teachers to see how a PLO can be used to address different HLPs.

We encourage you to navigate the different components of the series and hope you will find the PLOs useful in improving your teacher education and professional development efforts.

This model of enactment was intended for teacher candidates but also can be modified for practicing teachers to achieve their professional development needs.

Professional Learning Opportunities

OSEP LogoThis website was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Award No. H325A120003. David Guardino serves as the project officer. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or polices of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, or enterprise mentioned in this website is intended or should be inferred.