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
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:
2200 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 1102
Arlington, VA 22201
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