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Professional Development

Effective Professional Development Checklist
  • Professional development goals and objectives stem from program goals and a systematic needs assessment.
  • Theory and skills and a rationale for each were presented during training sessions.
  • Modeling, demonstration, and practice were included in initial and ongoing training opportunities.
  • Follow-up included on-site coaching and access to additional resources or experts.
  • Training on all materials and programs, including intervention programs, was provided.
  • Training on the use of screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based reading assessments was provided.
  • Training on using data from screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based reading assessments to inform instructional practices was provided.
  • The timing, content, and duration of program-specific training enabled teachers to use reading programs effectively at the beginning of the school year.
  • High-quality, knowledgeable trainers were secured.
  • Program leaders developed a mechanism for determining the extent to which teachers were implementing the core and intervention programs appropriately; follow-up and onsite support to improve fidelity of implementation were based on this information.
  • Systematic, ongoing needs assessment informed short- and long-term professional development planning.

Source: Designing High Quality Professional Development: Building a Community of Reading Experts in Elementary Schools (2006). Portsmouth, NH: Center on Instruction.

The Five Steps of Professional Development

Research shows that staff training often does not change teaching. A review of research carried out by Joyce and Showers shows that the traditional model of staff training has little effect on the classroom practice of the participants. In spite of the evidence, the old teacher development model lingers on in many professional development programs. If teaching is to improve, we must first change our professional development practices.

The good news is that this training can have a significantly positive affect on teaching, but only if the training follows a certain design. The irony is that the design required is that of good teaching:

Theory: Explain and justify the new approach
Demo: Show/model how it can be done in practice.
Practice: Let the teachers try doing it this new way.
Feedback: Give the teachers feedback on their use of the new way.
Coaching: Help teachers work out what to do next to improve their new approach.

Source: Bruce, J. and Showers, B. (November 1987).Synthesis of Research on Staff Development. Educational Leadership.

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