Managing the Implementation Gap

When teacher leaders do not understand and plan for the implementation gap , they will not be able to best support the growth of teachers. This post will help teacher leaders (mentors, cooperating teachers, instructional coaches, PD facilitators, etc.) manage the implementation gap so that teacher expectation is adjusted and performance can reach its potential.

managing the implementation gapWhat is i-Gap?

In the book “Trust Based Observations” written by Craig Randall, there is a chapter about delivering feedback. He reminded readers to be patient with how quickly teachers are able to successfully implement their new learning. Oftentimes, when we learn new skills, it takes a while to implement them successfully. We sometimes even regress in our performance as we figure out how to integrate the new skill. This is what author Craig Randall refers to as the “implementation gap” or what I call the i-Gap.

Introduce the i-Gap

Spend time introducing this concept to teachers. Let them know it is a normal process of learning and that if we do not understand and recognize the likelihood it can happen, the more frustrated we will be during the learning process. Without knowing about the implementation gap, teachers may give up on executing their learning in the classroom- especially if they notice their performance going backwards in proficiency.

During professional learning communities or during a professional development session, introduce the i-Gap to teachers. Have them recall learning something new and how that process unfolded. As they share common experiences and pinpoint when the i-Gap occurred, they’ll realize how common it is.

They will now know what to expect and how to react as they learn new skills under your guidance.

Prepare for the i-Gap

As you design learning experiences for teachers, build in the following:

  • self-reflection questions that allow teachers to notice where they are in the learning process
  • collaboration with peers so they can exchange ideas and strategies for implementing new learning in their classrooms
  • encouragement for teachers when they express frustration with implementing their new learning
  • celebrations as teachers experience success moving through the i-Gap

It’s important to normalize the implementation gap during the learning process. As teachers learn about the i-Gap, they should apply the same principles in their classroom as students learn new skills as well.

In need of more support in helping teachers implement learning? Download these printable PD guides and/or listen to these bite-sized PD sessions.





How do you manage the implementation gap?

About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.