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Empowering Teacher Voice and Choice

Successful school leaders model effective professional learning by offering choice and voice when leading teachers; they also empower teachers to lead throughout the process. Teacher choice and voice are essential characteristics of a school’s professional development framework. Both are critical to promoting self-directed learning as well as a bias toward action. In a system designed to advance choice and voice, teachers enjoy and benefit from driving their own learning in response to students’ needs. When school leaders support teachers with exercising choice and voice, they accelerate development of competencies through professional learning that lead to high-quality teaching. In addition, they lay the groundwork for collective teacher efficacy, a powerful contributor to student success.

Never has it been more important to model effective professional learning that offers choice and voice than now. Given the complex combination of knowledge, skills, understanding, values, and attitudes of teachers coupled with evolving needs of learners in terms of social, cultural, economic, and technological changed, choice and voice in professional learning is critical. By extending choice and voice to teachers as part of a professional learning framework, teachers’ professional judgment is honored, their adaptive expertise is developed, and students benefit. When teachers exercise choice and voice, more relevant, student-centered professional learning results, thereby leading to improved student performance and enhanced teacher commitment and job satisfaction.