Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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The Missing Link



From: Adam Kernan-Schloss (adam@ksaplus.com)
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 17:06:27 EST

  • Next message: Theodore J. Gardella: "Re: [Teacher-Talkmissinglink] prof dev toolkit"

    I thought Missing Link viewers might be interested in the following new
    professional development report and tool kit from the US department of
    education. Adam Kernan-Schloss, Project Director

    Professional Development Falls Short of Improving Teaching;
    Riley Offers Toolkit to Improve Efforts (December 18, 2000)

    High-quality professional development that is long-term, aligned
    with district & school goals, focused on knowledge in a specific
    subject, & actively engages groups of teachers in learning new
    skills & knowledge can have a significant impact on the quality
    of teaching, a new report from the U.S. Department of Education

    According to the report, "Does Professional Development Change
    Teaching Practice?," most schools & districts do not know how to
    implement high-quality professional development activities & lack
    sufficient resources to start & sustain effective, long-term

    U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said that in
    response to the need to better design & run professional
    development activities, every school district will receive a
    toolkit, developed by the Department, along with federally funded
    North Central Regional Educational Laboratory & Mid-Continental
    Regional Education Laboratory.

    "Using lessons learned from the Department's outstanding Model
    Professional Development Program award winners, this user-friendly
    toolkit walks administrators through the processes of
    designing, implementing, evaluating & improving professional
    development," Riley said. "These schools & districts know what
    works & the toolkit will help others implement effective
    professional development practices.

    Among the report's primary findings:

      * Professional development that is focused on specific,
           higher-order teaching strategies -- for instance, teaching
           students analytical & problem-solving skills by using
           technology to analyze statistics -- increases teachers' use
           of those strategies in the classroom.

    * The average teacher does not experience a long-term, high-
         quality professional development program -- the type of
           program that has the potential for fostering significant &
           lasting change in teacher quality.

      * In the 3 years of the study, there was little change in
           overall teaching practice. This is not surprising, the
           authors concluded, given the generally usual low-quality &
           inconsistent nature of professional development.

    The study concluded:

      * Time constraints are a major obstacle to quality programs.
           Most teachers already lack sufficient planning & preparation
           time for their classes & it is hard for teachers to find
           additional time to take part in sustained professional
           development. Schools & districts often must choose between
           higher-quality programs for fewer teachers & less focused &
           sporadic development for more teachers. At least some
           teachers participate in high-quality development some of the
           time, the study found, & quality of professional development
           varies within schools.

      * Reallocation of resources can help increase sources of
           funding, but without more resources, schools & districts
           ultimately must choose between quality & quantity.

      * Schools often lack the infrastructure & knowledge of what
           works to implement effective professional development. To
           translate needed reforms into practice, schools & districts
           need information & guidance on the characteristics &
           conditions that can help them provide high-quality
           professional development.

    The report was commissioned by Department's Planning & Evaluation
    Service & prepared under contract by the American Institutes for
    Research. The focus was on activities funded by the Eisenhower
    Professional Development Program & other sources from 1996-99.
    The Eisenhower Program is the federal government's largest
    investment in developing the knowledge & skills of classroom
    teachers. The program provides funds through state education
    agencies to school districts, & through state agencies for higher
    education to institutions of higher education & nonprofit
    organizations. These funds primarily support professional
    development in mathematics & science.

    The full report & the toolkit are at:

    Adam Kernan-Schloss
    KSA-Plus Communications
    2200 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1102
    Arlington, VA 22201

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