Using Models and Modeling of Effective Practice

by Dr. Adria Klein & Dr. Deb Rich | October 19, 2023

The professional development we have described in the last three blogs has been proven over decades to impact student learning. From the first year of learning together in Project CLEAR, we have learned many lessons that will guide us moving forward. Essential to the preparation of coaches and embedded in the one-on-one intervention program during professional development is the use of models and modeling effective practice, which is the fourth point in this blog series and is a core principle of Project CLEAR. Just like an open-door policy, we operate on an open lesson practice. The idea of “behind-the-glass” or observing lessons while they occur and participating in collaborative discussions about each student’s response to intervention are essential preparations for a coach. This is as true for coaching novice and experienced teachers as it is for students.

Curricular and instructional models and modeling of instruction in English and Spanish in Project CLEAR help teachers to have a vision of practice on which to anchor their own learning and growth and strengthen in-the-moment decision-making (Kaye & Matczuk, 2021). This includes reflecting during the lesson and informing instruction for the next lesson (Schwartz, Bates, Klein, Morgan, & Williams, 2021). This active decision-making is central to the concept of acceleration of student learning.

The various kinds of modeling can include:

• live or video lessons of teaching

• observations of student learning

• lesson records including samples of student assessments and records of reading and writing

• materials including manipulatives, carefully selected books for each individual, and the student writing journal

Professional development focused on pedagogical content knowledge proves successful in improving student achievement (Darling-Hammond, Hyler, & Gardner, 2017). In the preliminary data analysis from the first year of implementation, one finding is that students of teachers who participated in any of the professional development opportunities had consistently greater learning gains than students whose teachers did not participate. We will be following up with an analysis of the sustained gains for the second year. Professional development including modeling is not a one-time event. Instead, it is the continual reflection over time that is the most powerful aspect of this model. Rather than a “one-and-done” professional development event, the ongoing gathering of professionals deepens and embeds the learning and encourages reflective practice and intentionality in decision-making. This collaborative network forms trusting relationships among the educators, which fosters risk-taking and authentic problem-solving around student learning. We work in both English and Spanish in the Project CLEAR coaching model. We invite you to visit a class and watch both the teaching and the coaching in acCon. Classes are offered in person and virtually across the state. Further information about Project CLEAR can be found at ( Training is available for coaches and teachers who work in English and/or Spanish languages.


Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., Gardner, M. (2017). Effective Teacher Professional Development. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute.

Kaye, E., & Matczuk, A., (2021, Spring). Professional learning: Constructing understanding. Journal of Reading Recovery, 21(2), 29-30.

Schwartz, R. M., Bates, C. C., Klein, A., Morgan, D., & Williams, J. (2021). The role of observation in advancing the Science of Reading and instruction. Journal of Reading Recovery, 21(1), 47-55.