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In-School Opportunities and Long Term Support

In-School Opportunities and Long-Term Support from Dr. Mary Howard

Research clearly confirms that one-shot approaches to professional development rarely promote long-term change. We can only promote deeper levels of professional growth within the context of instruction through dialogue at regular intervals in the school year. Mary’s in-school support is offered after at least one full day seminar to set the stage for two central themes that will be embedded into these experiences:

1) Every minute counts and must be designed to make the most of precious available time with students


2) Students need active engagemen in meaningful, authentic and purposeful literacy learning (not trivial ‘stuff’ that robs them of these opportunities).


In-school professional learning with Mary is aligned to the same goals as teachers are actively engaged in meaningful, authentic and purposeful literacy. The deeper learning needed for long-term change cannot be accomplished with passive ‘dog-and-pony shows’ that fail to engage teachers in their own learning. Dialogue that rises from these engaging learning opportunities makes teachers accountable for their own learning as they are given time to apply that learning in their own teaching with support over time.


        Two variations for in-school support are offered, depending on the available time and schools willingness to make a time commitment.


One-day Format

      Scheduling a single day dramatically limits the time needed to initiate deeper learning so only two options are available for a one-day format:


Two or more consecutive day format

     This format affords the time needed to engage teachers in meaningful discussions that revolves around instructional activities. Two or more consecutive days will allow for the deeper learning experiences that lead to lasting change. There are three options for this format (or you can combine suggestions above).

  1. The teacher meets for fifteen minutes in advance to share lesson goals and material so that specific suggestions can be made that will enhance the lesson. Teachers are given the option to teach the lesson on their own or with Mary based on those adjustments (15 to 30 minutes). If possible, it is best to give teachers a little time to initiate the suggestions before the lesson. Discussion after the lesson then focuses on the specific learning experience (15 minutes)
  2. The teacher conducts the lesson for observation first (15 to 20 minutes). After this lesson, suggestions are made to elevate the lesson (30 minutes). The teacher then teaches the same lesson with a different group or book with these suggestions in mind (15-20 minutes). After the lesson, time is spent discussing how these adjustments elevated the learning experiences (15 minutes). While this requires more time with two lesson experiences, it is unquestionably the most powerful learning option when time is available.


In-Classroom Demonstration by Dr. Mary Howard

Each of these options are carefully designed to make the best use of our available time with opportunities to actively engage teachers in the learning process. Sessions will be adjusted according to how much time you are willing to invest. If you schedule one day for the year, only one-day options described are offered. If you schedule one-day sessions at key points in the year, some flexibility is offered in combining options after the initial session. It is recommended that you support this learning with a book study of my new book, Good to Great Teaching: Focusing on the Literacy Work that Matters (2012). This will support our work together after I leave (see for discounted bulk rates).

In-Classroom Demonstration by Dr. Mary Howard