Sharing the Classroom: A Professional Development Opportunity for Teachers and Social Workers

Publication Date



Teacher professional development associated with classroom-management strategies has proved to be particularly challenging in high-poverty schools working to emphasize the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL). Participation in weekly classroom-based, positive youth development (PYD) program sessions, facilitated by social workers, contributes to the repertoire of students’ social and emotional skills. Surprisingly, a closer examination of qualitative results from a mixed-methods longitudinal study suggests that when teachers and social workers share the classroom during the PYD program implementation, there is a positive shift in adults’ perceptions of students. As teachers and social workers observed each other working with students, their repertoire of SEL-associated classroom-management strategies expanded and positively overflowed into the school culture. This case study suggests a theoretical shift to consider interdisciplinary professional development that shares power and incorporates situational peer mentoring for teachers and social workers. Five implementation strategies are identified for optimizing outcomes.

Document Type



Civic Engagement and Service


Community Engagement

Original Citation

Robertson, A. S., McBride, A. N., Chung, S., & Williams, A. (2017). Sharing the classroom: A professional development opportunity for teachers and social workers. Power and Education, 9(3), 161–176. doi:10.1177/1757743817739460


Civic Engagement and Service


education, professional development, schools, social work, urban, poverty, prison, classroom management, civic engagement