Why Teachers Need Curriculum-Based Professional Development to Improve Student Learning
You find a stellar curriculum that will take your district to new heights, but how do you guarantee your teachers will use it?
A study published in Professional Development in Education shows that teachers implement a new program better when they receive curriculum-based professional development training. Unlike traditional PD, curriculum-based professional development teaches educators how to use the instructional materials to achieve the best possible outcome.
Why does it matter that my teachers use the curriculum I choose?
Brookings Institution research shows a high-quality curriculum has a much bigger, and more cost-effective impact on student learning than other interventions schools try, like decreasing class sizes, expanding preschool programs, or giving teachers merit pay.
Curriculum-based PD training helps teachers effectively utilize high-quality educational programs to boost students’ grades and test scores. Here’s how:
Build Content Knowledge
For educators to teach a high-quality curriculum, they need to know the content. In Dr. Douglas Bennet’s 2007 study, Gail, a teacher of 31 years (only identified by her first name in the study), explained why this is hard for teachers to do:
“Sometimes you don’t know enough about it [curriculum] to implement. You can’t really do it if you don’t know what it is all about. Sometimes it is a fear of something new. Sometimes it is a time factor. You don’t really have time to figure it out so you keep doing what you have been doing.”
Curriculum-based professional development saves teachers time by giving them the knowledge they need to apply your chosen program. As they teach it to their students, you can start to see it improve student performance.
Know Standard Alignment
For students to achieve the required state learning outcomes, educators need to teach the standards. However, teachers only have so much class time and may need to know which content they can skip and which they can’t.
Curriculum-based PD explains how each unit aligns with state and national standards. If you’re using a high-quality curriculum, that information will be in the Teacher Edition, but PD training goes a step further by pointing out where teachers can see how the standards are presented in their TE and SE, and how both work together for full coverage.
In this clip from a Studies Weekly Onboarding Webinar, Rebecca Prokopf shows teachers where to find standard alignment information online:
Hone Teacher Practices
A high-quality curriculum centers around teaching strategies proven to magnify student learning. However, these methods can differ from what your teachers studied in school and they may hesitate to use the new methods in their classrooms.
With curriculum-based professional development, teachers learn these modern strategies so they feel comfortable using them in the classroom or online.
For example, Studies Weekly’s PD session, “Instructional Modeling,” offers your teachers the chance to experience, unpack, and apply instructional strategies using our print and online publications. Through this advanced training, your teachers gain extra support in implementing modern teaching techniques into their own lesson plans.
Increase Teacher Efficacy
It’s natural for teachers – even those with years of experience – to feel nervous about teaching a new program. When you offer them curriculum-specific PD training, they feel confident they can teach the new material.
Another teacher in Dr. Bennet’s 2007 study, Bill (no last name given) said after receiving PD training:
“I have definitely felt a stronger sense of efficacy. I have felt I could accomplish more. I’m helping a larger portion of my students reach the student outcomes presented in the program of studies. Overall student learning in my classroom is improving as a result.”
Another participant, Della (no last name given), who is a teacher of 11 years, said about engaging in PD activities:
“It gives me the confidence to keep on trying and to tackle really big challenges in the classroom.”
When you increase your teachers’ self-efficacy, they get more satisfaction from teaching, have better mental health, and make a greater impact on student motivation and achievement, according to a 2020 education study. The happier your teachers are with their jobs, the more likely they are to stay at your school.
Leverage Teacher Resources
A quality curriculum will have valuable instructional resources to help your teachers improve their practice. Rather than having to hunt for these resources on their own, teachers learn where they are and how to use them during curriculum-based professional development.
Teachers who receive Studies Weekly’s “Onboarding” training learn where to find pre-written lesson plans, graphic organizers, primary source videos, and so much more!
These instructional tools will help your teachers get students’ skills up to grade level.
Because not all students learn at the same pace, teachers must differentiate the lesson material. A good curriculum is designed with this in mind, but when teachers see someone model differentiating instruction using the same materials they’ll be using, it gives them that much more of a head start.
Curriculum-based professional development trains teachers on how to adapt the program for students above or below grade level or to make up for school absences. It prepares them to meet student needs that may come up during the school year.
As a school leader, you play a vital role in implementing high-quality programs in your district. You can remove implementation challenges by offering teachers curriculum-based professional development. As your teachers feel comfortable using the program you choose, you will see leaps in student learning.
Are you adopting Studies Weekly this year? Sign up for PD training today so your teachers know how to use all our print and online resources.
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