PEDAGOGY IN TEACHER EDUCATION: MODULE 4: THE CONTEXT OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITHIN TEACHER EDUCATION

Module 4: The context of professional development within teacher education

1.  Conceptualizing the meaning of professional development
Professional development of teacher is defined as activities that develop an individual’s skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher.

The definition recognizes that development can be provided in many ways, ranging from the formal to the informal. It can be made available through external expertise in the form of courses, coaching, mentoring, professional meetings, workshops or formal qualification programmes, through collaboration between schools or teachers across schools (e.g. observational visits to other schools or teacher networks) or within the schools in which teachers work. In this last case, development can be provided through coaching/mentoring, collaborative planning and teaching, and the sharing of good practices. It also includes informal experiences such as reading professional publications, watching television documentaries related to an academic discipline, etc.
Therefore, any ongoing learning opportunities that are available to teachers through their education system or school can be termed as professional development.

Note:
Not all professional development programs can be effective. Effective professional development is defined as professional development that produces changes in teachers’ instruction practice which can be linked to improvements in student achievement (Blazer, 2005)

The primary purpose of professional development is to prepare and support teachers by giving them knowledge and skills they need to help all students achieve high standards of learning and development (U.S department of education, 1996). The conception of professional development is therefore broader than career development which is defined as the growth that occurs as the teacher moves through the professional career cycle. It is also broader than staff development which is the provision of organized in-service programs designed to foster the growth of teachers. When looking at professional development, one must examine the content of experiences, the process by which the professional development will occur and the contexts in which it will take place. This perspective is in a way new to teaching

In the past, professional development available to teachers was staff development or in service training usually consisting of workshops of short term courses that would offer teachers new information on a particular aspect of their work or on the latest instructional practices.
Participants listed passively to outside experts and were then encouraged to apply strategies in their own classrooms (Blazer, 2005). Teachers were proved with few, if any opportunities for following-up activities and rarely applied their new knowledge or skills when they returned to their classrooms (Joyce and showers, 2002)

Today, challenging student performance standards paired with rigorous sustainability policies call for significant changes in professional development practices. These changes cannot be accomplished by sending teachers to the short term professional development efforts of the past. Professional development must be more than training in new knowledge or instructional procedures. It must enable teachers to move to the next level of expense and enhance their ability to make changes that will result in increased student performance (French, 1997). This professional growth will only occur if teachers are provided with expanded learning opportunities, ample peer support, and extended time to practice, reflect, critique, and the practice again (Cohen and Hill, 1998)

Therefore, in recent years, the professional development of teachers has been considered as a long-term process that includes regular opportunities and experiences planned systematically to promote growth and development in the profession. This shift has been so dramatic that many have referred to it as new image of teacher learning, a new mode of teacher education, a revolution in education and even a new paradigm of professional development

Activity:
1)      Give a brief account on the following terms, professional development, career development, teacher development, staff development, in service training (INSET)
2)      Reflect on the current educational program in Tanzania, who is responsible for designing and conducting professional programs, is there any policy that guides its implementation? What does this policy say?
3)      Analyze the professional development programs designed by the government and non government organizations in Tanzania. What is the stance f these programs in the light of the new paradigm of teacher learning


2.  Rationale for professional development
Aside from the individual satisfaction of financial gain that teachers may obtain as a result of participating in professional development opportunities, the process of professional development opportunities, the process of professional development has a significant positive impact on teachers’ beliefs and practices, students’ learning and on the implementation of the educational reforms


2.1 Implementation of educational reforms
The current emphasis on the professional development comes not from knowledge of deficiencies but instead from growing recognition of education as a dynamic professional  field (Guskey, 2000). Educational researches are constantly discovering new knowledge about the teaching and learning process. As the professional knowledge base expands, new types of expertise are required of educators at all levels. And like professionals in other fields, educators must keep abreast of this emerging knowledge base and prepared to use it constantly refine their conceptual and craft skills

Education being a dynamic endeavor, change is inevitable. Teachers are constantly learning, growing and adapting to new techniques, new content standards and new curriculums. Teachers’ professional development is an essential component of comprehensive school change/reform.
Teachers are the center of educational reform because they must make every effort to ensure that their students meet the high standards that districts and states have adopted (Garetet l, 2001). They have most direct contact with students and considerable control over what is taught and learning climate. (King and Newnann, 2000)

2.2Students’ learning
The American federation of teachers has stated that, the nation cannot adopt rigorous stands, set forth a visionary scenario, compile the best research about how students learn, change text books and assessment, promote teaching strategies that have been successful with wide range of students and change all the other elements involved in systematic reform but without professional development, school reform and improved achievement for all students will not happen.
Evidence continue to accumulate showing that student performance ins influenced by teachers’ high quality professional development and that the effects of increased teacher knowledge are observed across subject matter fields (Guskey, 2000 and showers, 2002). The American federation of teachers (2002) has concluded that high quality professional development is essential to the nation’s goal of high standards of learning for every child and that the most important investment school districts can make  is to ensure the teachers continue to learn. The national commission on teaching  and America’s future (1996) reported that, investments in teachers knowledge and skills result in greater increase in student achievements than other uses of the education dollar. The time teachers spend with other knowledgeable educators engaging in teaching and learning  is just as important  to students’ learning as the time teachers spend teaching students

3.3 Teachers’ beliefs and practices
Successful professional development experiences have a noticeable impact on teacher’s work both in and out of the classroom especially considering that a significant number of teachers throughout the world are under prepared for their professional (Raimer 2002). Evidence how that, professional development has an impact on teachers’ beliefs and behavior. Evidence also indicate that, the relationship between teachers’ beliefs and their practice is not straight forward or simple (Reimer’s 2003). On contrary, it is dialectic, moving back and forth between change in beliefs and change in classroom practice (ibid)
3.  Forms/models off professional development

1.0 meaning of professional development model
Professional development models may be defined as a plan that guides the process of designing professional development for teachers (Joyce and Weil, 1972). The models can be seen as a design for learning which embodies a set of assumptions about where knowledge about teaching practice comes from and how teachers’ acquire or extend their knowledge (Ingvarson, 1987)
Major models include:  individually guided staff development, observation/assessment, involvement in a development/improvement process, training and inquiry model (sparks and Horsley, 1989). These models present teachers with a wide variety of options and opportunities to enhance their professional skills and knowledge (Guskey, 2000)

Supplement:
Sparks and Loucks-Horsley (1990), in their extensive review of the research, suggest that five types of staff development models are used for teachers:
·         INDIVIDUALLY GUIDED STAFF DEVELOPMENT. Individuals identify, plan and pursue activities they believe will support their own learning.
·         OBSERVATION/ASSESSMENT. Teachers are observed directly and given objective dataand feedback about their classroom performance.
·         INVOLVEMENT IN A DEVELOPMENT/IMPROVEMENT PROCESS. Teachers developcurriculum, design programs, or become involved in school improvement processes to solvegeneral or specific problems.
·         TRAINING. Teachers engage in individual or group instruction in which they acquireknowledge or skills.
·         INQUIRY. Teachers identify and collect data in an area of interest, analyze and interpret thedata, and apply their findings to their own practice.

Of these five models, the most widely used and researched is TRAINING.

1.1Individually guided-staff development model(“I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning by Rodgers)
Individually-guided definition
·           A process through which teachers plan for and pursue activities they believe will promote their own learning.
·           Designed by the teacher.
·           Teacher defined goals and activities
The key characteristic of this model is that, learning is designed by teachers. The teacher determines his/her own goals and select activities that will result in the achievement of those goals. Teachers read professional publications, have discussion with colleagues and experiment with new instructional strategies on their own. This may occur, with or without the existence of formal professional development

Individually-guided - Underlying Assumptions
o  Individuals can judge their own needs and that they are capable of self direction and self-initiated learning.
o  Adults learn most efficiently when they initiate and plan their learning rather than spend their time in irrelevant activities of little interest.
o  Individuals will be motivated when they select their own leaning goals based on their personal of their needs.

1.2 Observation/assessment model (“Feedback is the breakfast of champions” by Blanchard & Johnson- The One Minute Manager)
The model proposed that, one of the best way to learn is by observing others or by being by being observed and receiving specific feedback from the observation (Guskey, 2000). Analysing and reflecting on the information from observation assessment can be a valuable means of professional development. Coaching, mentoring and clinical supervision can be good examples of this model.

Observation/Assessment - Underlying Assumptions
o  Observation and assessment of classroom teachers can benefit both parties – the observer and the observed
o  When teachers see positive results from their efforts to change they are more apt to engage in improvement
o  Reflection and analysis are central means of professional growth”.  Loucks-Horsley (1987, p. 61)
o  Reflection by an individual on his or her own practice can be enhanced by another’s observation.

Because this model may involve multiple observations and conferences spread over time, it can help teachers to ee that change is possible. As teachers apply new strategies, they can see changes both in their own and their students’ behaviour.  In some instances, measurable improvements in students’ learning will also be observed.

Coaching is one of the examples where teachers visit one another’s classroom, gather objective data about student performance or teacher behaviour and give feedback (Joyce and Showers, 2002)

1.3 Involvement in a development/improvement process model
o  Sometimes teachers are asked to:
n  Develop or adapt curriculum
n  Design programs
n  Engage in a systematic school improvement processes
o  Any or all of these with the focus of improving classroom instruction and/or curriculum.
o  Successful completion requires the teacher to gain additional knowledge to complete the task.
o  This model focuses on the combination of learnings that result from the involvement of teacher in the process.
Involvement in a Development/ Improvement Process - Underlying Assumptions
o  People working closest to the job best understand what is required to improve their performance.Given opportunities, teachers can effectively bring their unique perspectives to the tasks of improving teaching in their schools.
o  Adults learn more easily when they have a need to know or a problem to solve (Knowles, 1980).
o  Teachers acquire important knowledge or skills through their involvement in school improvement or curriculum development processes.


1.4 Training model ( the purpose of providing training in any practice is not simply to generate the external visible teaching “moves” that bring that practice to bear in the instructional setting but to generate the conditions that enable the practice to be selected and used appropriately and integratively …a major, perhaps the major, dimension of teaching skill is cognitive in nature. Showers, Joyce, and Bennett (1987, p. 85-86) )
The training model involves presenter or team of presenters that shares its ideas and expertise through a variety of group-based activities. The model formats include large group presentations and discussions, workshops, seminars, demonstrations, role playing and microteaching.

Training session is conducted with a clear set of objectives or learner outcomes that may include
n  Awareness or knowledge
n  Skill development

Training - Underlying Assumptions
o  The model assumes that teachers can change their behaviors and learn to replicate behaviors in the classroom that were not previously in their repertoire. Teachers are wonderful learners who can master about any kind of teaching strategy or implement almost any technique as long as adequate training is provided.
o  There are behaviors and techniques that are worthy of replication by teachers in the classroom

1.5 Joyce and Showers model of professional development of teachers
Joyce and Shower (2002) describe the professional development for effective transfer of knowledge, skills to teachers as well as effective means for change in attitude, beliefs and teachers’ practices in schools. Joyce and Shower (2002) present teachers as teachers affect students by what they teach and the kinds of places (social climate) they are.
The model has five major elements that are theory, demonstration, practice and coaching as presented in the figure below


THEORY

DEMONSTRATION

FEEDBACK
 





Large measurable impact on classroom practice

No measurable impact on classroom practice

PRACTICE

COACHINNG
According to the figure, it is evident that even though teachers are very enthusiastic about the training they receive, they rarely apply it in sustained way that can lead to long-term change in practice. The feedback (teacher receives feedback on their practice so that they can see how well the new approach is working) and coaching (the coach helps the teacher discuss the teaching in a supportive environment with other teachers and consider how it might be improved) are very important components for an effective professional development program.

5.6 Inquiry model (“the most effective avenue for professional development is cooperative study by teachers themselves into a problem and issues arising from their attempts to make practice consistent with their educational values…[The approach] aims to give greater control over what is to count as valid educational knowledge to teachers.”(Ingvarson, 1987, p. 15.17)
Teachers formulate questions about their own practice and pursue answers to those questions. Inquiry involves the identification of a problem, data collection (from the research literature and classroom data), data analysis, and changes in practice followed by the collection of additional data. The inquiry can be done individually or in small groups. This model is built on the belief that the mark of a professional teacher is the ability to take "reflective action."
o  Teacher inquiry may be a solitary activity, be done in small groups, or be conducted by school faculty.
o  May be formal or informal
o  May occur in the classroom, at a teacher center, or results from a university class
o  Research is an important activity in which teachers should be engaged, although they rarely participate in it other than as “subjects.”


Inquiry - Underlying Assumptions
o  Teachers are intelligent, inquiring individuals with legitimate expertise and important experience.
o  Teachers are inclined to search for data to answer pressing questions and to reflect on the data to formulate solutions.
o  Teachers will develop new understanding as they formulate their questions and collect their own data to answer them. (Loucks-Horsley et al., 1987
4.  Evaluation of professional development
2.0 Meaning of evaluation of professional development
Evaluation of professional development program is an important aspect to determine its quality and to gain direction in improves it (Guskey, 2000). According to Guskey, good evaluations provide information that sound, meaningful and sufficiently reliable to use in making thoughtful and responsible decisions about professional development and effects.
Therefore, it is within the objectives of this study to design the model that will be used to assess the impact of the professional development programs prepared to enable teachers use the ICM lessons in their classrooms for the aim of improving students’ achievements

The main question here is that, how does one conduct good evaluations of professional development program for teachers? To answer this question, models of professional development including Tyler’s model, Stufflebeam’s model and Guskey evaluation models have been surveyed. Based on these models, some important aspects will be used to form some models that will guide this study. The evaluation models can be used to help in defining parameters of an evaluation. What concepts to study and the processes or methods need to extract critical data.

2.1Tyler’s evaluation model
Tyler in 1947, believed that the essential first step in any evaluation  is the classification  of the program or activity’s objectives. Once clear objectives are specified, evaluation can the focus on the extent to which those goals were achieved. If discrepancies are discovered between the objectives and the outcomes, then modifications in the program can be made to enhance its effectiveness. The focus f this model is on the objectives and outcomes and thus the process of implementation needs another model.

2.2 Stufflebeam’s evaluation model
This model focuses on decision making processes rather than on centering on objective-product model of the Tyler. The model is based on the four different kinds of evaluation information that one needs to make decisions during the evaluation process. They include; context, input, process and product (CIPP) evaluation information
Context Evaluation helps decision makers to assess needs, problems, assets and opportunities while defining goals and actions. Planning decisions and context information are two key concepts addressed during context evaluations (Randall, 1969). Decision makers need to consider the selection of problem components and set priorities in terms of importance. They also need to determine the strategy or strategies that will be used to carry out or overcome these problem components. The main methods for data collection during context evaluations are research surveys, literature reviews, and expert opinions.
Input Evaluation helps decision makers to assess plans for their feasibility and costeffectiveness for achieving planning objectives. It entails structuring decisions and action plans that depend on design information. This stage of evaluation generally sees decision makers setting up and confirming plans and budgets before actions are undertaken. This may include comparing competing plans, funding proposals, allocating resources, scheduling work and assigning human resources.
Process Evaluation sees decision makers assess actions and implementations of plans that are being achieved. At this stage of an evaluation, the design has been structured and put on trial.
Evidence is collected to determine the effectiveness of the objectives, and to help designers and evaluators to gauge the success of the process. Main methods for data collection are baseline observations, test results that can be compared against a time frame sequence, and comparing stated objectives with observed effects (Randall, 1969).
Product Evaluation aids in identifying and assessing outcomes, those intended and unintended, shortterm and longterm. It also provides a platform for clients to stay focused on their goals and to gauge the effort’s success in meeting targeted needs. The product information gathered from testing the completed designs contain evidence about the effectiveness in attaining short and long range goals, and can also be used to compare with that of another program or design (Randall 969).

The CIPP model helped educators recognize the value and importance of sound evidence in decision making process. It also broadens educators’ perspectives on evaluation and brought clarity to ongoing evaluation procedures.



2.3 Guskey evaluation models
Guskey (2000) proposed a five level model of evaluation for any professional program for teachers.
The first level of evaluation addresses teacher’s reactions to the experience. It measures, teachers initial satisfaction with the in-service experience but not its quality or worth. The information gathered at this level can help improve the design and delivery of professional programs.

The second level of evaluation focuses on measuring the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are the teachers developed throughout the in-service experience. Analysis of information from this measurement provides a basis for improving the content, format, and organization of the in-service program or activity

The third level of evaluation focuses on gathering information about school support to encourage and facilitate the in-service participants with the implementation of the innovation initiatives. This information is used to document and improve organizational support and also to inform further change initiatives.

The fourth level evaluation, concentrates on teachers use of the new knowledge and skills (gained through the in-service program) in classroom practices. Measurement of use is taken after sufficient time has passed to allow teachers to adapt the new ideas and practices into their school settings. Analysis of this information provides evidence of the current level of use and can help to restructure future activities to facilitate better and more consistent implementation

The last level of evaluation focuses on students outcomes. Measurement of students’ learning typically include cognitive indicators of student performance and achievement but also effective indicators (attitudes and dispositions) and psychomotor indicators (skills and behaviours)



Activities
1.      Describe the professional development models commonly used in our education system for teachers’ in-service programs

2.      Discuss with specific examples how the professional development programs for teachers have been conducted in Tanzania.

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