Empowering Teachers

Peer Coaching–95% Training Transfer Rate

Joyce and Showers (2002) researched four types of professional development: study of theory and research, demonstrations of instructional strategies, supported practice of teachers implementing instructional strategies, and peer coaching in which teachers plan and teach lessons together. This research demonstrated that the study of theory, demonstrations, and supported practice help to provide teachers with knowledge and skills, but only peer coaching provided the support necessary to assure that the training was effectively transferred to the classroom. With peer coaching, the transfer rate was 95%.

Outcomes of Professional DevelopmentKnowledgeSkillTransfer of training
Study of theory10%5%0%
Supported practice60%60%5%
Peer coaching90%95%95%

Enhanced Perspective Taking–Four Times More Likely to Implement New Strategies

A second aspect of professional development research is based on studying the relationship between teacher (adult) development and improvement in instructional practice. The research of Joyce and Showers (2002) and Hopkins (1990) demonstrates that teachers with greater capacity for intergating multiple points of view, i.e., their own perspective with others’ perspectives, are four times more likely to implement a new instructional strategy than teachers with less ability to integrate multiple points of view.


Empowering Teachers to Empower Students

The first research cited above demonstrates that effective professional development has to provide modeling, coaching, observing, and most importantly the time and opportunity to plan and teach lessons with their peers.

Teachers will be best able to improve their teaching if they learn these new strategies in close and supportive relationships with professional development coaches and peers.

Secondly, a second major factor is that professional development that seeks to foster teacher/adult development by teaching social perspective taking and other core social skills makes it four times more likely that teachers will be able to implement these new strategies.

With regard to student empowerment, and healthy social development more broadly, our approach is to help students master core social competencies in partner learning activities. Professor Selman’s theory and research demonstrates that one of the most effective ways to foster social perspective taking and related social skills, such as interpersonal negotiation skills, is through practicing them with their partners.

Supporting the ability of teachers to teach and demonstrate these skills requires a similar partner approach to the mastery of the ability to teach and model these competencies.

This is the reason that one-on-one modeling, co-teaching, coaching is so important–building trust between the coach and the teacher. And similarly, it is why the Teacher Partner component of professional development is so important important–building trust between teachers.

And beyond this dyadic approach to fostering child and adult development, there needs to be an explicit and systematic approach to teaching the mastery of a core set of selected competencies, especially perspective taking.



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