An Ongoing Professional Development Program and Its Impact on Teacher Effectiveness

Published: 
Oct. 01, 2011

Source: The Teacher Educator, 46(4), p. 299–315, 2011
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study investigates an ongoing professional development (PD) for school teachers, which has been explicitly founded on a set of guiding principles associated with quality professional development.

The authors examined the degree to which this professional development model is associated with more effective teaching practices as measured through teachers’ behaviors in the classroom.

Research Question
This study asks: What is the relationship between teacher participation in the professional development program and the three domains of teacher effectiveness and how is this relationship mediated by other factors?

Participants
The sample of this study included 153 teachers.
All teachers had a minimum of three years teaching experience.
All teachers in the sample were working in public high schools in the same administrative region of one urban school district.
 

Instruments and Procedures

The effects of participation in this program on three domains of teacher effectiveness, measured through classroom observations.
The domains of teacher effectiveness are planning and preparation, classroom environment, and instruction.

Danielson’s Observation Scale (DOS)
The observation instrument employed to measure teacher effectiveness was based on the Framework for Professional Practice developed by Danielson (1996).

Demographic Questionnaire
This second instrument provided information on numerous characteristics that research suggests are associated with teacher effectiveness.
 

Discussion

The authors conducted classroom observations to measure the effects of the professional development program.
The results indicated that it takes time for changes in teaching to occur as a result of professional development.

The results reinforce the notion that professional development needs to be ongoing and last, perhaps, as long as 2–3 years in order to begin getting returns on its investment.
The results also provide specific recommendations on the length of the program.
Second, the results reveal that the curriculum development PD program was not associated with a significant effect on planning and preparation or classroom environment.
It demonstrated a significant effect only on instruction.

The implications of this study indicate that high-quality professional development does not always address all domains of teaching.
Furthermore, the findings also point to the need for professional development opportunities to be ongoing and highly focused on improving inquiry-based instruction.

References
Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Updated: Aug. 26, 2013
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