Building Instructional Capacity Ann Jaquith: A Research Brief

Legislation & Policy

Following is the abstract and excerpts from the research brief.

The ideas in this brief were initially developed in The Creation and Use of Instructional Resources: The Puzzle of Professional Development (2009). This research brief presents a conceptual framework to illuminate the conditions that enable professional development resources to get used by teachers and schools. A theory of instructional capacity building is proposed that extends Martha Feldman’s (2004) work on resourcing  by specifying what instructional resources are and by situating resource use in a specific context. Data is drawn from a comparative, embedded case study of two middle schools (Jaquith, 2009) and from a state-level case study of teacher professional learning (Jaquith, Mindich, Wei & Darling‐Hammond, 2010).

Instructional capacity:  What is it?
Broadly conceived, instructional capacity is the collection of resources for teaching needed to provide high quality instruction to groups of  students in a specific context. Four types of instructional resources are needed in order for a school or district to provide high quality instruction to all students:  

1) Instructional knowledge (including knowledge of content, pedagogy, and students);
2) Instructional materials (e.g. curriculum, instructional tools,  textbooks,  teaching materials, assessments — and  know-how to use these materials);  
3) Instructional relationships that are characterized by trust, mutual respect, a recognition of instructional expertise and an openness to interpersonal learning;  
4) Organizational structures that support the identification, development and use of instructional resources (e.g. common learning time for subject and/or grade-level teachers; formal instructional leadership roles and organizational mechanisms that foster teacher collaboration, learning from peers and communication patterns that develop a shared understanding of teaching practices that are linked to student learning). These four types of instructional resources are multi-faceted and interdependent.

Access the full research brief HERE


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