Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thoughts about professional development

Yesterday, my school held a professional development day.  Now, the day was filled with expert presenters talking about important topics such as how to implement certain strategies for students with certain learnign challenges ranging from ADHD to Gifted and Talented.

The speakers were very good and the information was most useful, but as I was listening to these guests, I began to reflect on professional development.  Once teh day was over, I went to my office llibrary and gatered the following thoughts on professional development.

“The essence of successful instruction and good schools comes from the thoughts and actions of the professionals in the school” (Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon, p. 370).

“Virtually any experience that enlarges a teacher’s knowledge, appreciation, skills, and understanding of his or her work falls under the domain of professional development” (Glickman, et al, p. 370-371).
Highly competent teachers find avenues for growth outside of the normal in-service and professional development routines (Karst, 1987).
Primary criticism of prof. dev. programs: one-shot deals with no integration of comprehensive plan to achieve school goals (Tetenbaum and Mulkeen, 1987).

Alternative formats for professional development: (Glickman, et al, 2004)

  • Teacher centers: Meet at central location to engage in professional dialogue, develop skills, plan innovations, gather/create materials

  • Collegial support groups: engage in group inquiry, address common problems, provide mutual support

  • Networks: teachers sharing common concerns, information, and engage in common learning using various mediums (electronic and face-to-face)

  • Teacher as writer: reflecting and writing about their students, teaching, and professional growth

  • Individually planned professional development: setting individual goals and objectives, plan/carry out activities, assess results

Stages of professional development (Glickman, et al, 2004):

  • Orientation: benefits, responsibilities, concerns addressed - must move beyond this to be effective

  • Integration: apply learning to classroom - regular and effective use of the new learning

  • Refinement: move towards “expertness” through continuous experimentation and reflection
Question:  How does Twitter and other social network resources help address the professional development issues presented above?


Glickman, C. D., Gordon, S. P., Ross-Gordon, . M. 2004. Supervision and instructional leadership: adevelopmental approach (6th ed) . Pearson, Boston.

Karst, R. R. 1987. New policy implications for in-service and professional development programs for public schools. Presentation to the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington DC, April.

Tetenbaum, T. J., and Mulkeen, T.A. 1987. Prelude to school improvement: Understanding perceptions of staff development. Presentation to the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington DC, April.
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