Blog Series: Personalizing Professional Development, Part 1

Over the last decade, One World Education has worked with hundreds of teachers and more than 25,000 students. Our teacher community has been the heart of the organization, and their feedback anchors our continual improvement. Recently we have given serious thought to several questions about how to better engage and support our teachers in return.

First, how can we assist teachers to innovate, and then study how these innovations impact learning? Second, with One World’s history of empowering student voices, how can we now help to empower teacher voices? Finally, since our work with teachers has centered around personalized learning experiences for students, could we address the need for improved adult learning by creating personalized professional development for teachers?

These questions inspired the launch of the One World Teacher Fellowship earlier this year. The first goal of the five-month Fellowship is to help teachers identify an area of instruction they can improve, and then help them design and implement a non-biased classroom case study to test new practices. These case studies will be conducted by Fellows during implementation of the One World Program, as their students improve research and argumentative writing skills and learn about social justice issues.

The second goal is that Fellows’ case studies will highlight innovative strategies that can predictably lead to improved student outcomes. Teachers in the Fellowship work closely with academic experts and engage in colleague-to-colleague learning to help them study, assess, and share their best practices. Several Teacher Fellows will present their case study findings and recommendations at One World’s Symposium on Preparing College-Ready Writers on February 8, 2018.

Who are some of the One World Teacher Fellows and what are they studying? Let’s meet two teachers in the 2018 cohort.

Tonita Dozier is a veteran ELA teacher at Anacostia High School in DC Public Schools. Ms. Dozier is interested in whether group work or independent work has a greater positive impact on her students’ writing. With guidance from experts at the Urban Institute, Ms. Dozier’s case study will monitor multiple research and writing assignments by students in one of two groups: a control group where students work independently, and a treatment group where students work collaboratively.

Across the city at the E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, 8th grade Humanities teacher Fadhal Moore is teaching his students about cultural identity. He will study whether students’ writing about a topic related to their identity leads to improved writing outcomes. In Mr. Moore’s control group, students will select topics that are of interest, but not aligned to their identity. In his treatment group, students will write about topics that clearly connect to their identity. Mr. Moore believes his study will help him structure how students select their topics in the future.

By connecting adult learning to innovative uses of curriculum, the One World Teacher Fellowship is offering teachers professional development directly related to what they are teaching. We are eager to see where their work will lead and to assess its impact on students. Ms. Dozier and Mr. Moore are off to a fantastic start!

Add new comment