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ERIC Number: EJ1002240
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0276-928X
Who Are the Advocates in Your School? Professional Learning Cries out for Leaders to Shape It as a Relevant and Energizing Force
Mizell, Hayes
Journal of Staff Development, v33 n6 p46-49 Dec 2012
An advocate for professional learning believes deeply that it is essential for educators to not only learn throughout their careers but to use their learning to become increasingly proficient over time. The advocate buttresses this belief with knowledge of specific processes and practices that constitute effective professional learning. Some educators, particularly those employed to conceive, plan, organize, manage, implement, or facilitate professional learning, meet the belief-knowledge criteria for advocacy. But this does not make them advocates. Effective advocacy requires taking initiative to bring an issue to the attention of people in positions of influence and authority. In professional learning, these are leaders responsible for making or shaping decisions about allocations of human and fiscal resources, including time. An important dimension of advocacy is persistence, and when school system and school leaders consistently speak up on behalf of standards-based professional learning, other people in the school system take it more seriously. Because teachers have the most firsthand knowledge of ineffective learning experiences, they should be the most vocal leaders for professional learning that works. Yet, that is often not the case. The reasons for teachers' lack of leadership are diverse and complex. Foremost among them is that many school systems do not permit, encourage, or facilitate teachers' critical participation in making professional learning as powerful as it can and should be. To the contrary, many school systems regard professional development as a tool to force learning on teachers. A school system identifies gaps in teachers' knowledge, skills, or performance, and it decides what teachers need to learn, and when and how they should learn it. Teachers do not invest themselves in these learning experiences, and the results are often problematic. There are other reasons teachers are reluctant advocates for more effective professional development. Some believe advocacy is the role of their unions or educators whose jobs focus on professional learning. Professional development will not serve "all" educators well unless leaders at each level make professional learning "their" business, advocating for it individually and collectively. They will have to be aggressive in helping disengaged educators understand standards-based professional learning and how it can leverage much more effective learning experiences than many educators have known in the past.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A