Localized Professional Learning
Working Definitions and Frameworks
21CSLA localized professional learning is a process of practitioner inquiry that advances educational equity for a specific context around leadership, equity and continuous improvement. Leaders participate in professional learning that models equity-centered content and critical pedagogical approaches. Problems of practice are situated in and arise from the regional communities and are determined through an extensive needs-assessment process that includes designing inquiry for advancing equity.
21CSLA Localized Professional Learning is grounded in research:
The very construct of professional development suggests professional learning beyond simply being trained to use programs and processes faithfully. Webster-Wright (2009), however, argues that the construct of professional development ignores the importance of situating the professionals’ learning in authentic problems of practice to be solved and recognizing that there are multiple ways that professionals can learn and grow, “from formal PD programs, through interactions with work colleagues, to experiences outside work, in differing combinations and permutations of experience” (p. 705). She offers the term “continuous professional learning” for the “learning of practicing professionals.”
Sustainability across years requires capacity building (Darling-Hammond, 1993). When executed well, capacity building emphasizes professional development that enables key individuals to lead change efforts with less and less external support. That is, the key leaders learn to create opportunities for and to support dialogue relevant at the appropriate time in the process.
Localized professional learning should be designed to develop leaders who actively work toward the creation of equitable practices, policies, and structures. Equity leaders take action to disrupt historical systems of injustice; acknowledge and heal the impact of daily implicit bias; and create “counter-narratives” that challenge and reframe erroneous beliefs and perceived truths about people of color and marginalized populations.
For the Field
As a member of the State of California’s System of Support, the 21st Century School Leadership Academy is charged with building “the capacity of educational leaders statewide through professional learning aligned to the California
Qualities of Effective Professional Learning
- Professional learning reflects the student needs of the region.
- Professional learning creates opportunities for district, site and teacher leaders to transform practice through whole and small group collaborative, interactive sessions.
- Professional learning empowers equity-focused leaders to take action to disrupt historical systems of inequity.
- Professional learning opens spaces for leaders to engage in dialogue to address equity-focused problems of practice.
- Professional learning is embedded in sustained continuous improvement processes.