Learning Job Skills from Colleagues at Work: Evidence from a Field Experiment Using Teacher Performance Data

Author: John Papay, Eric Taylor, John Tyler, Mary Laski

Year: 2020

Paper Description

In this paper, the researchers wanted to see if a program that encourages teachers to learn from each other could help them improve their teaching and their students’ learning.

The researchers randomly assigned teachers to either the program group or the control group. The teachers in the program group were paired with teachers who were better at the skills that they needed to improve. The teachers then worked together to help each other improve their skills.

Key Takeaway 1

Teachers can learn from each other and this can help them improve their teaching. The study found that teachers who were paired with other teachers who were better at specific skills improved their own teaching.

Key Takeaway 2

The study also found that it is more cost-effective to pair teachers together to learn from each other than to have formal mentoring programs.

Standout Quote

“One specific and important potential opportunity cost is that the higher-skilled “partner” teacher might give less effort to teaching her own students. In our estimates, students of partner teachers were no worse off, if anything they may be benefited slightly.”


teacher development, instructional coaching, expertise, expert teachers, teaching, school improvement, pedagogy, ITT, ITE