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Leading Powerful Professional Learning

Leading Powerful Professional Learning
Responding to Complexity With Adaptive Expertise

A Joint Publication with Learning Forward, Foreword by Viviane Robinson

October 2019 | 160 pages | Corwin

Effective facilitation is complex

What is central to leading powerful and effective facilitation in professional learning? You. Gone are the one-size-fits-all answers—instead, you’ll draw from your own knowledge and expertise to lead your PLC in actively solving complex problems that are unique to your context. 

For professional learning to have an improvement impact for both teachers and students, it needs to be more than a single event. Truly successful professional learning is sustained, collaborative, evidence-informed, and student-focused—generating multifaceted solutions to real-life, real-time issues rather than focusing on one piece of the practice puzzle at a time.

This book, based on the results of a five-year research study, provides:

An innovative approach to the design and delivery of professional learning grounded in principles of adaptive expertise
Easy-to-use one-page summaries of “Deliberate Acts of Facilitation”
Guidance that’s fully congruent with Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning

The current educational landscape demands a new kind of leadership. This book gives you the tools you need to apply the principles of adaptive expertise to your leadership and facilitation—enabling you to draw on your own deep knowledge to address the complex challenges you and your teachers face every day.


About the Authors
Chapter 1: The Roots
Root #1: Adopting an Evaluative Inquiry Stance

Root #2: Valuing and Using Deep Conceptual Knowledge

Root #3: Being Agentic

Root #4: Being Aware of Cultural Positioning

Root #5: Being Metacognitive

Root #6: Bringing a Systemic Focus

Chapter 2: The Trunk
Exercise #1: Trunk: Responsiveness through Relationships with a Generative Improvement Orientation

Chapter 3: Branches and Leaves
Branch 1: Purpose and Focus

DAF #1: Clarifying Purpose

DAF #2: Focusing on Valued Student Outcomes

DAF #3: Building Coherence

DAF #4: Creating Commitment and Taking Action

Branch 2: Knowledge and Inquiry

DAF #5: Deepening Knowledge

DAF #6: Using Evidence Critically

DAF #7: Using Focused and Deep Collaborative Inquiry

Branch 3: Effective Learning Processes

DAF #8: Surfacing and Engaging Theories and Beliefs

DAF #9: Navigating Perceptions of Risk

DAF #10: Developing Self-Regulation

DAF #11: Providing Appropriate Support and Challenge

DAF #12: Co-constructing Learning

Chapter 4: Facilitating Improvement
Facilitating Improvement and Adaptive Expertise

How Does Adaptive Expertise Fit With Other Forms of Expertise?

Developing Your Own Adaptive Expertise

Developing Adaptive Expertise in Others

Putting It All Together

Research Appendix

Leading adult learning is difficult and many educators do not have the skills needed, nor do they know where to start. Our mental model of professional learning is skewed by years of substandard learning provided by well meaning leaders. This book will help build capacity for learning leaders to identify shortcomings and improve their craft.”

Terri Iles, Executive Director, Learning Forward Texas

"Leading Powerful Professional Learning is a valuable resource to those responsible for designing and facilitating professional learning."

Amy Colton. Executive Director , Learning Forward Michigan

"Leaders often are unaware of the scope of their responsibilities when it comes to professional learning. Leading Powerful Professional Learning's 
diagrammatic and metaphoric way of presenting the content allows readers to access the book’s content in a variety of different ways."

Joellen Killion, Senior Advisor, Learning Forward

"Most of what is currently available centers around professional learning for a specific content area (i.e. math, science, reading) but does not focus, in general, on the development, delivery, and evaluation of effective professional learning. Leading Powerful Professional Learning fills a void that currently exists for those of us charged with providing professional learning experiences."

Leading Powerful Professional Learning
Leading Powerful Professional Learning
Leading Powerful Professional Learning
Eric C. Lee, Director, Jacksonville State University Inservice Center

"Leading Powerful Professional Learning provides specific support for those leading professional learning, giving readers the option to read cover to cover or identify specific areas of focus and read those sections. The authors present a book that moves beyond the description of what professional learning is but would provide solid examples and support for those who are leading professional learning in their school and district."

Bryan McDonald, Assistant Professor, University of Central Missouri

The text provided a very useful research-based framework for our graduate course. The mixture between theory and practical strategies was appropriate for the course and well received by the students. We are pleased with our decision to adopt this book and would use it again for a similar course.

Cathryn Smith
Educational Admin Dept, Brandon University
September 1, 2021

Still under review. the book is explicit about professional learning.

Dr Jonathan Chibuzo Okeke
Leadership Studies Dept, Beulah Heights University
February 21, 2020

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