Joyce and Showers on Professional Development

In their book Student Achievement through Staff Development, American researchers Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers argue that professional development (PD) often assumes that once teachers learn and develop a skill, they will automatically use it in the classroom. Yet their research reveals that learned knowledge and skills rarely transfer to the classroom.

They do, however, report a noticeable increase in transfer when coaching is added to a teacher’s training. They argue that PD supported by coaching that allows for a transfer of skills into instructional settings is crucial for meaningful and lasting professional learning.

Summary of their findings

Type of Training Provided Skill Development Accurate Use in Class


5 per cent

0 to 5 per cent


50 per cent

5 per cent


90 per cent

5 per cent


90 per cent

75 to 90 per cent

Source: The Coaching of Teachingby Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers in Educational Leadership, October 1982