AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Professional Development and Instructional Resources

The content of professional development must be aligned with content standards and curriculum. It must also help teachers understand what the standards mean and the expected level of student mastery. The AFT has always been in the forefront of providing research-based professional development to its members in order to facilitate individual and collective examination of practice. To best meet the differentiated needs of the teachers and students within our communities, ongoing, job-embedded professional development should be integrated during the school day and on the school site providing opportunities for collaboration, coaching and examining student work. Professional development is an essential element of comprehensive and systematic school reform.

Successful implementation of the newly adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will require a new way of looking at teaching and learning and how professional development is delivered. Because the focus of the CCSS is depth of knowledge, professional development must be designed to deepen and broaden content knowledge and provide a strong foundation in the pedagogy of particular disciplines. Teachers need to know how concepts develop through the grades, how they are connected and the best approaches to gaining student understanding and mastery.

The nation can adopt rigorous standards, compile the best research, promote innovation in instruction and assessment, but without professional development, school reform and improved achievement for all students will not happen