Linda Darling-Hammond, Maria E. Hyler, and Madelyn Gardner, with assistance from Danny Espinoza.
Teacher professional learning is of increasing interest as one way to support the increasingly
complex skills students need to learn in preparation for further education and work in the 21st
century. Sophisticated forms of teaching are needed to develop student competencies such
as deep mastery of challenging content, critical thinking, complex problem-solving, effective
communication and collaboration, and self-direction. In turn, effective professional development
(PD) is needed to help teachers learn and refine the pedagogies required to teach these skills.
However, research has shown that many PD initiatives appear ineffective in supporting changes in
teacher practices and student learning. Accordingly, we set out to discover the features of effective
PD. This paper reviews 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link
between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. We identify
the features of these approaches and offer rich descriptions of these models to inform those seeking
to understand the nature of the initiatives.