Guidelines for effective Professional Development

Abstract:
The author collected and analyzed 13 recent lists of characteristics of “effective” professional development and came to three conclusions. First, little agreement is apparent among researchers or practitioners on criteria for effectiveness. He urges going beyond evidence based on teacher self-reports to focus instead on the end goal of student achievement. Second, statements about effective development programs generally include “yes, but” qualifiers, frustrating policymakers and practitioners seeking simple answers. Yet, he agrees, the complexity of real-world context makes one-size-fits-all statements impossible. Finally, he says, while the promise of research-based decision making on professional development remains unfulfilled, it does not need to remain so. He urges identifying the strategies of effective teachers in each school and sharing them with colleagues as a basis for highly effective professional development in that context.

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According to Guskey(2003), there is no explicit formula for generating effective professional development. There are a number of factors, such as differences in communities, cultures, socio-economic status, teacher turnover, and student turnover, that affect the whether or not a program will be successful. Due to these powerful contextual influences, broad-brush policies and guidelines for best practice may never be appropriate or accurate (Guskey, 2003).

Reference:

Guskey, T. R. (2003). Analyzing lists of the characteristics of effective professional development to promote visionary leadership. NASSP Bulletin, 87(637), 4

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