Problem of Practice for Capacity Building

For long-term success, schools must build teacher and leadership capacity. This process cannot be outsourced but requires implementation within the school culture and community. To help, the Stride Professional Development Center will share a national, consultancy model and discuss its use for capacity building in schools and classrooms.

Have you ever heard of a “Problem of Practice”? Yes? No?

The full title is “Problem of Practice Consultancy Protocol,” and its initial form was developed in the 1990s. Faith Dunne, Paula Evans, and Gene Thompson-Cove, while working with the Coalition of Essential Schools and the Annenberg Institute of School Reform, asked a question about why summer professional development never translated into specific and sustained instructional improvements during the academic year. They proposed the creation of a critical peer group that acted as an accountability unit for teachers to implement what was learned. Those seeds have grown into the fully developed PoP process.

Looking at their research and reflection in a different way, the summer professional development was a short-term solution that re-energized teachers BUT schools required long-term growth that reformed instruction. That type of growth builds capacity by looking, learning, and leading inward rather than seeking an outward source of inspiration.

If the desire is to build teacher and school capacity, the PoP model is one tool that can help. It starts with a real-word problem, digs deeper with questions, drives thoughtful solutioning, and develops everyone in the process.

Want to build capacity through that process for colleagues and classrooms? Then check back with the next blog as more details are forthcoming.

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