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events, professional development, teacher preparation

PD Worth Your Time?

Teacher Professional development is a critical means of shaping teachers practices especially in a time when reform initiatives require significant changes to the way teachers teach and students are assessed.

There are numerous models in which teacher professional development is conducted however the end goal is the same, to improve teachers’ practice for the benefit of student learning. According to Yoon and colleagues (2007) professional development affects student achievement through three steps:

  1.  Enhances teacher knowledge and skills.
  2. Better knowledge and skills improve classroom teaching.
  3. Improved teaching raises student achievement.

But in an education community where professional development is often top-down and driven by other people’s agenda, it is not surprising to hear that while 90 percent of teachers reported participating in professional development most of the teachers also reported it was totally useless (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009).

Moving to a professional development model that informs and shapes teachers’ practices requires not only changing the top-down driven model but the decision making process. It requires a growth-driven approach that is ongoing and collaborative from the moment planning begins. Research has found when professional development is driven by the needs of the participants their content knowledge and practice grows and this directly impacts the students in their class (Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin 1995; Little 1998).

If student achievement is the desired result than teacher professional development must ensure that teacher participants are actively involved in the process and ideas are transferrable to the classroom. Much like the students who enter the K-12 classroom, teachers also bring their experiences, beliefs and views of learning. Shaping a teacher’s beliefs and pedagogical practices takes time, commitment and support. Teacher professional development however is often presented through a traditional teaching lens, that is participants are passive receivers of information rather than active participants.Teachers much like students need an opportunity to practice and rehearse new skills prior to implementing them in the classroom (Dickenson & Montgomerey, 2015). In fact research has found teachers need at least twenty instances of practice to master a new skill (Joyce & Showers, 2002).

It is necessary for professional development models take into account what Confucius has been credited in saying “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Unlike the traditional school leadership model which is administrator driven and selected the MBAMP organization is voluntary and teacher-driven as leadership roles and responsibilities take place outside of the traditional school day. This approach to developing a leadership team does not limit an organization in valuing the specific skills and styles of a selected group of teachers rather participation is teacher initiated allowing teachers to share their unique skills, knowledge and experiences.

On February 27th, MBAMP will host a hands-on workshop for participants who are interested in leveraging the power of technology  into their teaching practice.  You won’t be lectured to or asked to sit passively while presenters regurgitate information on a PowerPoint slide. You will be collaborating, sharing your ideas and creating products and approaches to bring into your classroom immediately.  Join us next week as we explore tech ideas such as: DESMOS, FLIPPED CLASSROOM, CODING and more..

Register here for our upcoming event only 5 slots left and you can also earn PD credit.



Darling-Hammond, L., Chung Wei, R., Andree, A., & Richardson, N. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council.

Darling-Hammond, L. and McLaughlin, M. (1995). “Policies That Support ProfessionalDevelopment in an Era of Reform.” Phi Delta Kappan 76(8), 597-604.

Dickenson, P., & Montgomery, J. L. (2015). The Role of Teacher Leadership for Promoting Professional Development Practices. Innovative Professional Development Methods and Strategies for STEM Education, 91.


About Dr. Dickenson

I am an assistant professor of Teacher Education at National University in San Jose.


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