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How Five Schools Rethought Time–And Improved Teaching and Learning

Jon Snyder

This post is published in its entirety in EdWeek's Learning Deeply blog.

When we talk with teachers, it doesn't take very long before the conversation inevitably turns to time. In fact, talk with most anybody about anything and when you scratch the surface, time comes up. It takes time to get really good at something and there is never enough time; especially for improving the effective use of this most valuable resource.

Since time matters, we studied five schools (four in the United States and one in Singapore) that were intentional about and paid attention to time, especially to time within the school day for teachers to learn with and from each other.

What we found, and what other research corroborates, is that when teachers are provided the time to learn with and from each other, they:

  • Increase their own teaching capacity and the teaching capacity of their colleagues;
  • Develop the learning culture of the school;
  • Improve teacher retention;
  • Spread the growth of quality practices; and
  • Enrich the capacity of the system to sustain and continuously renew improvement.
  • Most importantly, in both international and U.S. studies, there is research correlating teachers learning with and from each other with improving outcomes for our children.

In our study, we wanted to learn different ways that time could be organized within the school day, what happened inside that differently organized time, and what supported and constrained the use of that time to benefit our children and our communities.

These schools would tell you, however, that the outcomes for the children and their families make it worth the effort. As a teacher at one of the schools explained, "The kids benefit from it, so it's worth it." Read more >>>>

This post is by Jon Snyder, PhD, the executive director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE).