ERIC Number: EJ1150250
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
The Power of Collaboration: A Case for Teachers Helping to Determine Professional Development Agendas
Dahlberg, Kathryn R.; Philippot, Raymond A.
Planning and Changing, v39 n1-2 p21-41 2008
That individual schools and districts often simultaneously engage in multiple professional development projects in a "one-size-fits-all" model poses several quandaries. One quandary is attempting to foster a particular teacher behavior or disposition with little follow-up. A second is implementing a school-wide (or district-wide) program before developing teacher buy-in. A third is simply assuming that all teachers will willingly use the knowledge and skills they are being asked to enact. In this article, the authors argue two primary points. First, viewing ongoing professional development for inservice teachers as a hallmark of forward thinking schools, they argue that, in order to maximize the efficacy of professional development offerings, it is critical for district administrators to solicit feedback from teachers to collaboratively determine an agenda for professional development. Teachers who have a voice in determining what they need, vis-à-vis ongoing learning, in order to better serve their students will surely be more apt to engage in the process and implement what they have learned. Second and perhaps most important, the authors' findings suggest that districts ought to be willing to allow for varying tracks of professional development. On any given faculty at any given level (elementary, middle school, or high school), one will find a staff with a range of experience, from the twenty-two year old first year teacher to the thirty year veteran. The learning needs of a staff are often just as varied as the students they serve. As such, professional development offerings should be differentiated given the varying needs and career stages of the teaching staff. Herein, the authors first review the literature on professional development focusing on its purposes, models, and shortcomings. They then present the background, methods, and findings of a study conducted through ten neighboring school districts that formed a consortium to collaborate on professional development activities. The study reported here sought to identify the strengths, needs, and delivery preferences of district teachers with the intention of better focusing the staff development efforts in these districts.
Descriptors: Faculty Development, Inservice Teacher Education, Feedback (Response), Program Improvement, Teacher Characteristics, Teacher Background, Consortia, Case Studies, Partnerships in Education, Needs Assessment, Likert Scales, Teacher Surveys, Online Surveys, Participant Characteristics, Tenure, Educational Needs, Elementary Secondary Education
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations. College of Education, Illinois State University, Campus Box 5900, Normal, IL 61790-5900. Tel: 309-438-2399; Fax: 309-438-8683; Web site: http://education.illinoisstate.edu/planning/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A