Teacher Practice


"Teaching is a thinking person’s job, which has enormous implications for anyone that supports teachers. The conversations we have about practice must be about cognition. Teaching is about making decisions about what to do next given the circumstances. Teaching is an enormously complex activity.”

— Charlotte Danielson

Frequent classroom observations paired with timely, meaningful feedback and targeted support to help teachers continuously strengthen their instruction is a central feature of both the NYCDOE’s Citywide Instructional Expectations and Advance.

Teachers and their school leaders must develop a shared understanding of what effective instruction looks like, and a common language with which to discuss it in order to achieve continuous growth in teacher practice. Advance utilizes Charlotte Danielson’s 2013 Framework for Teaching to provide a common language to describe effective teaching practice, and regular, collaborative reviews of student achievement data to focus these conversations on improving student outcomes.

The Framework is a comprehensive, nationally-recognized, research-based rubric of teacher practice. It is comprised of 22 components, divided into four domains that provide precise language to describe facets of good teaching practice.

The Framework takes what we, as educators, already know about teaching, and promotes productive conversations about teacher practice by providing an articulated structure and a common language. The full Framework is posted to the NYSED website.

Explore the Danielson Framework and related resources:

Try It: Viewing Teacher Practice through the Lens of the Framework

Click below to view a clip from the classroom of an experienced teacher. As you view the clip, consider: What do you see and hear from the students and teacher that let you know that the students are learning? Put another way, what are the observable qualities of instruction that let you know that a lesson is effective?
Jot down a list of these characteristics.  What themes among them can you identify?

After viewing the clip, organize the qualities of effective teaching practice that you identified into categories, and then review the information on Danielson’s Framework below. How similar are the categories you brainstormed to the Framework’s “Domains” of effective teaching practice?
Compare the themes you noted to the four Framework domains:

  1. Planning and Preparation: What a teacher knows and does in preparation for teaching.
  2. Classroom Environment: All aspects of teaching that lead to a culture for learning in the classroom.
  3. Instruction: What a teacher does to engage students in learning.
  4. Professional Responsibilities: Professional responsibilities and behavior in and out of the classroom

The observation and feedback cycle, implemented well, can change school culture – bringing teachers and school leaders together in a shared commitment to improving student outcomes through great teaching. Teachers participating in the NYCDOE’s 2012-13 Teacher Effectiveness Pilot attest to the power of feedback to transform their practice (source: 2012-13 Teacher Effectiveness Pilot Teacher midyear survey, n = 2395):

  • 79% of teachers agree that feedback they get from being observed helps them improve their practice.
  • 73% of teachers agree that the feedback they receive helps them improve student outcomes