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An Effective Framework
for Professional Development

A simple framework for a necessary process to effectively improve professional development.


The four elements shown reflect a novel and effective process for improving professional development in a school setting.


Defining a Paradigm

Exploring the What & Why


Survey & Summary

Beliefs & Behaviors



Modules & Coaching


Definition of Done

Empirically-derived Consensus


The four phases in this process are reflected in the graphic below as an intentional and transparent iterative cycle for improving the professional development of a school's administration and teaching staff. 



The goal of this framework is to increase persistence and reduce fade-out of a desired paradigm.

Persistence refers to "...adults staying in programs for as long as they can, engaging in self-directed study or distance education when they must stop attending program services, and returning to program services as soon as the demands of their lives allow." 

Source: Comings, J. (2007). Persistence: Helping adult education students reach their goals. Review of adult learning and literacy, 7(2), 23-46.


The initial phase, Defining Paradigm, involves an in-depth exploration into a desired paradigm that takes into account concerns and ideals of a school's leadership team in conjunction with community stakeholders to create a whole-school vision for how a shift in paradigm may best serve those most closely involved in the change process (the teaching staff and leadership).

Source: Marino, J. Jay. "A new paradigm for organizational change: Involving customers and stakeholders in the improvement process." The Journal for Quality and Participation 30.1 (2007): 10.

The two middle phases of this process, Survey/Summary and Interventions, when used as an intentional and transparent iterative cycle, is intended to promote a healthy environment for developing self-monitoring and peer-based celebration of growth within the desired paradigm. 

Gehlbach, H., Robinson, C. D., Finefter-Rosenbluh, I., Benshoof, C., & Schneider, J. (2018). Questionnaires as interventions: can taking a survey increase teachers’ openness to student feedback surveys?. Educational Psychology, 38(3), 350-367.'_openness_to_student_feedback_surveys

The final phase, Definition of Done, considers the persistent actions of a school's staff and leadership team in the context of shared criteria for success related to the desired paradigm.


Metacognition as an instructional theory (i.e. "metacognitive constructivism") is a key component of this framework. This concept is rooted, in part, in the work of Dr. Anton Tolman on student resistance:

"...student resistance is the outcome or result of a confluence of forces, including institutional context, faculty attitudes and behaviors, faculty reactions to student behaviors, and powerful forces that drive and shape student expectations and reactions." 

Source: Tolman, A. O., Kremling, J., & Tagg, J. (2016). Why Students Resist Learning: A Practical Model for Understanding and Helping Students. Herndon: Stylus Publishing.

The cycle of survey and intervention in this framework exploits metacognition as a means for promoting persistence by coaching habits related to self and peer reflection in the context of personal, social, and institutional factors, as they relate to the desired paradigm being adopted and adapted.

  • Can I use this framework with any paradigm? (SBG, SEL, Metacognition, eduScrum, etc.)
    Yes. We currently have research-based surveys for a number of paradigms but are willing and able to develop a survey for use with this framework that specifically addresses the needs of a school or district.
  • Can this framework be used as a "self-paced" program?
    No. A "self-paced" program would allow the user to freely explore and engage in available material as they are able and willing. For the sake of school and district timeframes and budgets, this framework serves as a behaviorist process of scheduled interventions and surveys. However, although the user is not pacing the interventions themselves, the process is designed to personalize professional development opportunities so, in that way, it can be loosely considered "individual-paced".
  • Will any survey work in this framework?
    Yes, any survey can be incorporated into this framework so long as it aligns with the interventions being applied since the survey is used to inform the intervention process. However, the survey will need to be research-based and validated to mitigate bias and ensure change can be measured effectively.
  • Will any intervention work with this framework?
    No. The effectiveness of the intervention phase depends on its relatedness to the others elements of this framework. To substitute interventions without consideration of the other framework's elements may decrease the validity of the framework.
  • What is a typical timeline for this framework?
    This framework requires a minimum of 8 weeks for all four phases to be implemented minimally, at least once. It is expected that this framework will require at least twenty-four weeks (about one academic year) to produce some change in paradigm. The first phase - Defined Paradigm - may take several meetings with school leadership, teaching staff, and community stakeholders to determine the benefits and boundaries for successfully implementing a desired paradigm. The two middle phases - Survey/Summary and Intervention - create an iterative cycle that often requires multiple cycles of these two phases for the change process to fully realize a desired paradigm shift. The last phase - Definition of Done - may require iterative updates based on the changing needs of a school and its community. Consistent oversight of this phase is embedded throughout the framework.
  • Can single elements of this framework be used independent of the framework?
    Paradigm: Yes, consultation can be scheduled independent of the framework. Surveys: Yes, surveys may also be licensed independent of the framework. Interventions: No, interventions are informed by surveys which are paradigm-specific. Definition of Done: Yes, consultation can be scheduled independent of the framework.


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