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Evolving Learner

Evolving Learner
Shifting From Professional Development to Professional Learning From Kids, Peers, and the World

Foreword by Thomas C. Murray, A Joint Publication with Learning Forward

August 2020 | 192 pages | Corwin

Learn from Kids, Peers, and the World to Transform Professional Learning

What can kids teach us about educational practices? It turns out, plenty. PD is evolving into professional learning (PL), where personalized experiences focus on goals and outcomes, rather than seat time. In Evolving Learner, successful PL is framed through three critical sources: learning from kids, from peers, and from the world. Woven throughout the book are tangible connections to cycles of inquiry where a harmonious balance is the ultimate goal when students are engaged in inquiry for deeper learning and teachers are engaged in a parallel process to improve their practice.

  • The authors’ unique framework shifts away from factory model “PD” and transforms it into experiences tailored to kids’ and adult learners’ specific needs. Clear strategies for accomplishing PL are presented through 
  • A framework where both students and teachers are active agents of learning  
  • Cycles of inquiry to empower students to become the owners of learning  
  • Techniques to make thinking visible for teachers and students 
  • Cutting edge coverage of applying technology to professional learning including the use of social media, gamification, and digital badges 

The time is right to reclaim ownership of your professional learning: Evolving Learner is an essential guide for embarking on this journey.


Foreword by Thomas C. Murray
About the Authors
Honor the Learner: Kids

Leveraging the Most Abundant Resource in Our Schools

What Are They Thinking? Making Thinking Transparent to Tailor Instruction and Promote Teacher Inquiry

Ownership of Learning for All: Shifting From Students Who Consume Content to Learners Who Create Content

Looking Ahead


Honor the Learner: Peers

Workshops That Work: Renovating the One-Size-Fits-All Model

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

Coaching Principles and Practices

Practices in Action: Feeling Connected, Seen, and Heard

Social-Emotional Learning

Parents/Families as Peers

Tips: Listen, Be Flexible, Care


Honor the Learner: World

Becoming an Edu-Explorer

Developing Your Tribe

Social Media

Tips: Filter, Edit, Focus, Balance

Lurk No More


In Closing
References and Further Reading

"Evolving Learner is a unique balance of incredible creativity, knowledge of innovative professional learning practices, with a deep appreciation for the emotional side of change. This trio of authors has done a remarkable job of making research based techniques of empowering the learner come alive. Filled with practical stories from classrooms around the world, this book will super charge educators to more deeply understand the needs of students to help them expand their own boundaries of learning. Of particular note, are the strategies to help students own their learning and educators to build collaborative classrooms. This book honors the role of the teacher as the head learner. The knowledge and wisdom within these pages is the reference and guide that we need to build healthy classrooms for students and teachers."

Alan November, Founder
November Learning

"As time moves on so does the reality that students of today are not the students of yesterday but the teachers haven’t moved on in the same speed as their students, technology and the world at large. The needs and expectations have jumped ahead 100+ years.  Today’s teachers need to be as modern-thinking as the students they work with on a daily basis.  Evolving Learner is a great step in moving in the right direction to meeting not only student needs to enter the world of discovery- learning but teacher needs through collaboration and project based learning as practices. I celebrate the authors and the work that has been done to get the process started. "

Claudia Danna
Sacred Heart University

"Societal changes, through the use of technology, should impact how we educate students and the overall pedagogical viewpoint of education. Like meeting student needs, teachers need, and deserve, to have updated, professional learning that meets them where they are rather than a one size fits all situation. Empowering teachers to move forward and personalize their own learning will move professional learning years ahead of where we are now! Evolving Learner offers guidelines, examples, and strategies to move professional learning ahead at the same rate we offer our students progression in their own self-empowered learning."

Patti J. Larche
Phelps-Clifton Springs School District

Evolving Learner is a fast and easy read but is jammed pack with ideas that can be implemented tomorrow whether you are in the classroom, supporting teachers in the classroom, or supporting your organization as whole.  As a school leader myself, it provides meaningful and relevant strategies to reframe professional development for your organization.

Dr. Sammie Cervantez
Shell Beach Elementary

"Evolving Learner offers a compelling message of hope for educators across all disciplines in moving from an idea to implementation.  It is an easy read and a great time saving topic for busy administrators offering a practical solution to facilitating the process of change from professional development to professional learning experiences. This is the one tool needed by all that is a research based process to enhance the growth and development model of one’s organization."

Debra Paradowski
Arrowhead Union High School

"Evolving Learner is a timely resource for administrators that are planning professional learning, but also for educators that are looking to take their own professional learning into their hands."

Katina L. Keener, M.Ed.
Achilles Elementary

"Districts and schools need to look at personalizing the learning for the teacher.  Evolving Learner is a well written book that conveys and gives great examples of how this can be done."

Stephanie L. Turner
Bradley Academy An Arts Integrated School

"Although teachers have often received training on differentiating instruction for students, most professional development for teachers continues to be 'one size fits all.' Evolving Learner explains how to make the shift to professional learning that differentiates for teachers, providing meaningful experiences that will in turn promote positive change in the classroom."

Melissa Miller
Farmington Middle School

"Evolving Learner sets learning up to be successful for everyone on the team, including the teacher and students. This book provides necessary tools to develop a wonderful learning in a community."

Tamara Daugherty
Zellwood Elementary School

"Evolving Learner offers a fresh approach to professional learning that all educators will find useful."

Linda Diaz
Monroe County School District

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ISBN: 9781544338323

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