QTL News & Stories
Perkins Professional Development a Success
Teachers find that collaboration and curriculum integration are a powerful combination in helping students succeed.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Sixteen high schools in four of Arkansas' educational cooperatives have launched a three-year process to increase academic and career achievement and graduation rates among Career and Technical Education Students. Participating teachers say the QTL (Quality Teaching and Learning) process will help them help their students succeed.
"QTL focused my attention more on the learning of all students rather than (just) on my teaching my particular content area," wrote one Nettleton High School teacher after finishing the first elements of QTL. "The training introduced some new strategies for reaching all students."
The process, known as QTL, helps teachers use research-proven teaching strategies, student data and technology tools to reach every student in their class every day.
But QTL goes further by bringing together groups of teachers to focus on all their students by developing a professional learning community.
"New federal law requires that Career and Technical Education, geometry, and literacy teachers collaborate across their various curricula to enhance the outcomes for students," says Kathi Turner, Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the Crowley's Ridge Educational Cooperative in Harrisburg, Arkansas.
"In fact, Career and Technical teachers have taught the principles of math and literacy in their area; and math and literacy teachers have taught the principles of career and technical courses in theirs for years without always being fully aware of how collaboration could enhance their work and more effectively benefit students," observes Turner.
80% of participants say they now see the value of collaboration with their peers.Says one, "We should be in this together – administrators, teachers, support staff - to facilitate the learning of all students."Data from the Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning indicates that when they begin the QTL program, few teachers are aware of what goes on in classrooms other than their own.
"For example, when a geometry teacher teaches the Pythagorean theorem and a building trades teacher teaches the rise and run of a roof, they're teaching the same thing: right triangles." observes Turner. "They just teach it differently. QTL will help teachers find their common ground where the information they teach becomes relevant to students and increases student understanding."
"Student success is the result of connections," says Dave Boliek, CEO for The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning. "When teachers help students connect what they already know to what they need and want to know, it makes sense to them. It's relevant. The student learns, understands and succeeds."
Experienced teachers reported that QTL has excited them and will excite their students about learning. One Nettleton High School teacher reported that after 29 years of teaching, "I have been challenged once again to push my limits."
"I will definitely concentrate more on [student] learning rather than teaching," noted another. Combining lessons to increase students' understanding has captured the imagination of teachers involved in the training across the state.
Participant results from summer 2007 professional development have been impressive. Ninety-eight percent of participants say they now understand the value of collaborating with other teachers and ninety-seven percent say they will actively seek out opportunities to work together.
At Hoxie, in Northeast Arkansas, a teacher says, "I learned a lot by working with other teachers in fields other than my own."
At Mineral Springs in Southwest Arkansas, a teacher feels, "I think the most important part of the training was the collaboration among the members of the group."
The process helps teachers understand that asking other teachers for help not only is OK, it is desirable. A Mineral Springs teacher, "I believe that the impact that the training made on our staff as a whole will increase collaboration.
As one Marion High School instructor wrote, "We should be in this together – administrators, teachers, support staff - to facilitate the learning of all students."
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