What Does Effective Professional Development Look Like?


Friday, 8.46pm

Sheffield, U.K.

All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself. – Bill McCartney

What is a good way to look at developing your career or professional capability? Would it help you to have a coach? Jake Cornett and Jim Knight summarised the research on coaching and found that while we know less than we would like what’s there suggests that coaching can help you learn more effectively.

One of the approaches they review is called Peer Coaching, where colleagues work together to improve their capabilities. For example, a teacher can share what they’ve learned with other teachers. But information alone does not result in improvement – there are ways to get more effective at how you do professional development.

You start with the content – with the information. That’s typically the bulk of any session – the lecture content. In addition to the lecture, however, modeling what you’re talking about helps show how you do what you do. For example, if you talk about note-taking then showing your notes models your approach. Getting the audience to practice what you’re showing them helps them to take what they’re seeing and get used to doing it themselves. Once they’ve created something it helps to give them feedback, to show they where they’re on the right track and where there is room for improvement.

These four elements, providing information, modeling, practice and feedback can take the learning rate of the audience from under 10% to nearly 20%. But if you add the last element, coaching, then you can get a transfer rate of over 90%.

What this means is that if you’re designing a development programme for you or for others then in addition to the work you do on the day or in class you should also consider providing ongoing support and coaching if you want your students to get the best result.


Karthik Suresh

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