Archive for category PDmodels

Professional Development & Technology

  • Over the years, there has been numerous calls for the reform of teacher professional development (Darling-Hammond, 1997; Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Hawley & Valli, 1999; Lewis, 2002; National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, 2003; Wilson & Berne, 2001).
  • The need for providing teachers with on-going high quality PD.

PD today are still based mostly on:

  • “deficit model of knowledge” (Hawkes, 2000 p. 268).
  • top down approaches
  • based on lectures
  • with limited opportunities for the teachers to collaborate, share experiences, and build new knowledge  [Adsit, J. N(2004). p. 7]

Adsit(2004) argues that professional development for teachers opportunities for “social collaborations”(Marx et al., 1998) among “robust” peer supported networks.

new models of professional development have attempted to harness the power of computers and Web-based technologies to foster the following:

  • Teacher change and improvement (Ellett et al., 2002; Marx et al., 1998; Soloway et al., 1996)
  • Collaboration and community-building (Hawkes, 2000a; Moore & Barab, 2002; Schlager, Fusco, & Schank, 2002)
  • Professional development reform efforts (Gross et al., 2001; National Staff Development Council & National Institute for Community Innovations, 2001; Wang & Hartley, 2003)

A growing body of evidence points to benefits of using technology to provide PD programs( e.g: TAPPED IN):

  • Reduced teacher isolation ( e.g: when using electronic communication) [Dimock & Rood, 1996; Hawkes 2000a; Jinks & Lord, 1990; Ruopp, Gal, Drayton, & Pfister, 1993],
  • Access to a broad range of resources for improving teaching and learning [Ball, 1998; Ellett et al., 2002]
  • Opportunities for collaboration and professional growth [Fusco, Gelbach, & Schlager, 2000; Schlager & Schank, 1997; Schlager et al., 2002].



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Guidelines for effective Professional Development

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.


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).


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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