Useful Research Links

Making Time for Professional Learning

Ask any educator what they need to implement an initiative or instructional skill with fidelity and you will most likely get a request for “time”. As educators, you recognize the need to deepen your understanding of an initiative and/or skill before implementing; implementing takes trials, reflection of effect, and time; following implementation, educators naturally begin to analyze the impact on groups, subgroups, concepts, and skills. While this process plays out in our classrooms and school buildings every single day, taking the time to truly employ a new initiative or skill is often overwhelming.

Managing time becomes a necessary skill itself for you as an educator; and this requires an intentional process and clear communication skills. As educators, you know that the decisions you make each day in schools impact colleagues and students forever; yet, you often struggle in allowing time for change. Consider a common quote among educators, “If we do what we have always done, we will get the results we are getting now”. Owning time management and refining our communication skills to support “making time” is essential for change associated with growth needs for everyone. This link provides access to an excerpt from Collaborative Professional Learning In School And Beyond: A Tool Kit For New Jersey Educators; Chapter 7. The New Jersey Department of Education Office of Professional Standards recognized educators need to “make time” for professional learning and collaborated with Learning Forward, formerly NSDC, to develop this tool. Joellen Killion authored this work to support a school culture that honors time for education. Content in the resource includes the following:
  • Tool 7.1 Time use flows from school culture;
  • Tool 7.2 Analysis of current time usage with time use log;
  • Tool 7.3 Think outside the clock;
  • Tool 7.4 Time enough for teaching and learning;
  • Tool 7.5 Making time for adult learning;
  • Tool 7.6 Comparison of strategies for making time for collaborative professional learning;
  • Tool 7.7 Forming a recommendation.
This tool is the perfect “tool box” for all administrators! Note the survey at the beginning of Chapter 7 that leads into research supporting time for education. Administrators, you will also find tools that you can use with your staff to help define your school climate and reveal how time use flows from school culture.
Make time for your learning! Read Priscilla Pardini’s “Making Time For Professional Learning” to see how other educators have embraced collaboration and allowed student progress to manage their time! Follow this link to hear Randi Weingarten acknowledge the skills and content associated with education and effective educators. You will most likely find that you agree with her final words!
Administrators and Teachers:
Use this video clip to acknowledge the content of our work and focus on making time for success through our work; this clip is an excellent discussion starter! Click on this link for a birds-eye view of an educator’s critical issue: finding time! The authors acknowledge the changes you face today as an educator and provide insight into effectively managing time for professional growth! They explore:
  • Time and Change;
  • Thoughtful Planning and The Value of Time;
  • Garnering Community Support;
  • Goals;
  • Action Options;
  • Implementation Pitfalls;
  • Different Points of View;
  • Illustrative Cases.
Consider using this research article to foster a conversation among your leadership staff about how time is used in your building to support professional learning. You will also find excellent additional resources outlined in the bibliography if you wish to explore the topics presented more extensively.
As you read this article, consider your school culture and your role in that culture. How is time acknowledged and managed for your professional growth? What role can you play in strengthening your school’s culture to involve time for professional learning? Read the authors’ insights and reflect on your own actions and goals.