The Best of Us S2/E3: Research-Backed Strategies in Professional Learning, with Dr. Peter DeWitt

In this episode of The Best of Us, we talk with education researcher and author Dr. Peter DeWitt about research-backed concepts and strategies to make professional learning smarter, stickier, and more valuable. We cover:

• Metacognition: teaching learners to think about their own thinking
• De-implementation: abandoning low-value practices to make room for impactful work
• Reciprocal transfer of learning: Collaborative PD that produces more than the sum of its parts

…And much more.

Peter speaks to examples from his own practice, and offers concrete strategies for PD success criteria that accurately and actionably reflect the results.

Listen now:


The importance of metacognition [0:02:43] The significance of thinking about our own thinking and how it relates to professional learning.

Reciprocal transfer of learning [04:15] The concept of learning not only from the facilitator but also from the conversations and interactions during the learning process.

Planning for learning in sessions [07:28] Being open to learning from others and using tools to gather feedback and identify common themes for deeper learning.

The mindset of being a facilitator [09:35] How to be a dynamic participant in learning, reflecting on practice, and improving content delivery.

Learning from virtual and hybrid workshops [10:05] Real-life example: how to reflect and learn from virtual and hybrid workshops, developing success criteria with the audience.

Challenges in implementation [12:50] Understanding the nuances of implementation, avoiding low-value practices, engaging in discussions, and maintaining professional learning.

De-implementation example: Zero Tolerance Policies [16:37] Zero-tolerance policies in schools as a strategy that should be de-implemented.

Reducing Teacher Talk Time [17:49] Importance of reducing the amount of time teachers spend talking and increasing collaborative and cooperative learning opportunities for students.

Abandoning Low-Value Practices [20:53] Identifying high-value practices and removing barriers that hinder professional learning and growth.

The importance of self-awareness and understanding the needs of participants [24:13] How PL facilitators being self-aware and understanding the needs of the participants makes job-embedded learning “stick” better.

Crafting a letter with success criteria for a keynote presentation [26:05] Peter shares an example of how he crafts a letter with success criteria for a keynote presentation on collaboration within literacy.

Providing follow-up resources and support after the professional learning session [29:34] Peter explains the importance of providing follow-up resources and support after the professional learning session, including a video review and an inner session for further engagement.

The video creation process [33:00] Peter discusses the process of creating follow-up videos, including the ideal length and the major points to cover.

Reasons for over-implementation [34:02] Peter explains why over-implementation occurs, such as thin content, workaholic cultures, and contradictory statements from superintendents.

Key topics in implementation [35:06] Peter highlights the importance of focusing on three key topics in implementation, including informal vs. formal practices and partial reduction vs. replacement.

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