Ryan Bretag had this to say about an organization focusing on instructional strategies,

The problem with that is that if we continue to focus on the question “how well are we instructing”, we will continue to search for a non-existent formula. Instead, leaders and teachers need to focus on the question “how well are we learning”.
We focus too much on how we want teachers to teach: this strategy, this technology, this belief...In fact, I’m not overly concerned with how any teacher is teaching so long as the learning we desire is happening.

I do think that some instructional strategies have the potential to be more effective than others.  Bretag goes on to quote Marzano - it's how you use the strategy that matters.  I encourage you to read Ryan's thoughts.  I don't have much to add other than a connection to what's going on locally in Iowa.  I mentioned nearly a year ago the way the Iowa Core is written focuses too much on adults (inputs) and not enough of on students (outputs).   As a district administrator charged with leading our professional development efforts, it's tempting to spend an entire year or more on inputs such as any of the Iowa Core's characteristics of effective instruction.  So far, we haven't bit the bullet.  Instead, we're learning about and implementing the professional learning community philosophy, specifically the second learning question, "How will we know when each student has learned it?"  If Teacher A used more direct instruction and Teacher B used a more of an inquiry approach and both of their students learned the agreed upon learning target at the level the team collectively agreed upon, then so be it.

I realize the pendulum swings both ways here - from a strict emphasis on inputs (instructional strategies) to outputs (learning based on assessments) - and see my philosophical bias leaning heavily towards outputs.

I am looking for the perspective of two groups of people on this topic.

  • Folks in charge of professional development - the majority of you that I talk with focus on inputs (my perception can be off target, admittedly) what drives you to lean in this direction?
  • Classroom teachers - where is the philosophical bias in your district - inputs?  outputs?  What is your perspective on this leaning?