Virtual Listening Tour Underscores Need to Prioritize Professional Development, Especially During Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the traditional educational experience and creating the most complicated learning environment of our time, the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning launched a virtual listening tour in May to learn more about the effects of the pandemic on teaching and learning. Impact Florida partnered with the Lastinger Center to share the findings and reflect on best practices that were implemented in districts and schools throughout the state. They collected over 5,600 surveys and interviewed nearly 70 students, teachers, parents and administrators on the effect of the closures. 

The Lastinger Center recently released its report, which revealed that 82% of teachers said they needed additional training to deliver sound online instruction. And more than 35% of K-12 teachers surveyed believed that support from peers and colleagues was the most impactful asset they had when transitioning from in-person to distance learning. 

It is clear that professional learning, one of the Five Conditions that Support Great Teaching, is more essential now than ever before.

In a webinar hosted by Impact Florida, the Lastinger Center and Chiefs for Change, Florida leaders reflected on how system leaders responded to the Coronavirus. They discussed focal areas of the report, including:

Dr. Philip Poekert, Director of the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning, and I co-authored an op-ed that ran in the Gainesville Sun and Palm Beach Post summarizing the report and emphasizing the most crucial finding — professional learning needs strengthening in order to make sure teachers get the support they need.




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