Our Approach to Teacher Learning Teams
Collaborative learning is at the heart of a system of continuous learning. Educators learning in community is a key structure for addressing issues common in traditional modes of teaching, learning, and creating support among teachers. More importantly, learning collaboratively helps teachers improve their practice.
Learning Forward helps districts develop cultures of learning and implement professional learning communities with fidelity. We guide educators to employ a continuous improvement process where change, instructional improvement, and increased student learning are the goals, and learning is the intention of collaboration.
Using our Becoming a Learning Team framework, we support district leaders, school leaders, professional learning facilitators, and school-based teams to identify the conditions necessary to:
- sustain cultures that support teachers’ continuous learning in community;
- implement the five-stage learning team cycle of continuous improvement;
- develop an action plan for implementing teacher-led learning teams in schools; and
- utilize protocols to effectively implement the learning team cycle of continuous improvement both face-to-face and virtually.
What we do
Teacher-led learning teams
Effective professional learning communities engage teams in a cycle of continuous improvement, promote collective responsibility for student learning, and support alignment of individual, team, school, and school system goals.
While many schools use PLCs or other collaborative structures for teacher learning, Learning Forward’s support for teacher-led learning focuses on the day-to-day actions in classrooms between students, educators, and instructional materials, and provides a clear road map showing how to use that time for maximum impact.
Using Becoming a Learning Team framework, schools implement the five-step teacher-led cycle of continuous improvement that guides the work of learning teams:
- Analyzing data to identify student learning needs.
- Setting learning goals for their students.
- Selecting or constructing learning designs that facilitate their own learning so they may address student learning goals.
- Implementing new instructional strategies in their classrooms.
- Monitoring, assessing, and adjusting practice.
Through whole group sessions, coaching and observation for school-based teams, and ongoing virtual support for teacher teams, professional learning facilitators, and school leaders, we provide step-by-step guidance in using collaborative learning time to meet adult and student learning needs:
Becoming a Learning Team outcomes:
- Understand the value and importance of collaborative learning to improve teaching and learning;
- Launch a learning team cycle with five key stages;
- Support the meaningful implementation of high-quality instructional materials;
- Implement each of the five stages with specific strategies and supporting protocols;
- Adapt the cycle to fit the specific school and district calendars and initiatives; and
- Engage external support in sustaining learning teams.
Learn more about how we help ensure your teachers work in the community to address their own and their students’ learning needs.
Leadership support for learning teams
School and system leaders play a critical role in ensuring that schools implement learning teams effectively. Sustaining a culture of continuous learning requires a district-wide investment in professional learning and in creating a culture of continuous improvement in schools.
Without the support and ongoing engagement of leadership, learning teams will be unable to effectively implement and sustain the cycle of continuous improvement.
Principals in particular have a critical role not only in providing time and resources or learning but in creating a vision and culture in which ongoing collaboration is part of a teacher’s daily work.
Learning Forward works with leaders at the school and system levels to understand and embrace their roles in implementing effective learning teams.
We help leaders understand and implement the creating conditions for successful implementation of learning teams, including:
- Vision and leadership
- Alignment and accountability
- Clarity of team goals
- Collaboration skills
- Commitment to collective responsibility
Learn more about how we can support your school and district leaders in implementing effective learning teams.