Professional development should be primarily school-based and integral to school operations (Burch, 1996; CPRE, 1995; Feiman-Nemser, 1983; Grossman, 1992; Guskey, 1995; Little, 1993; Little & McLaughlin, 1993; Joyce & Showers, 1995; Louis, Marks, & Kruse, 1996; NFIE, 1996; NGA; NSDC, 1995; Smylie, 1995; U.S. Department of Education, 1995). This does not mean denying teachers access to out-of-school learning experiences through professional associations or networks, graduate study, or teacher centers. However, opportunities to learn in powerful ways are most often connected with the recognition of and solution of authentic and immediate problems. For example, Hodges (1996) describes a large-scale staff development program conducted by Joyce and Showers (1995) in which cohesiveness, transfer of training, and the resulting effect on student learning were--and continue to be--a direct function of the study teams teachers formed to establish norms of mutual support and inquiry into the learning process (p. 229).
Motivation to learn and to engage in school change efforts also increases when these efforts are linked to improving and assessing daily practice. This is often referred to as "job-embedded" learning. As Lucks-Horsley (1995) claimed: This direct connection between learning and application increases meaning for the teacher and potential impact on students (p. 268). Smylie (1995) describes the optimal workplace is one in which learning arises from and feeds back into work experience, where learning is considered to be part of work.
Commenting on the mounting evidence about the efficacy of site-generated and supported innovations, Pink (1992) argues for investment in school-level capacity building. One necessary investment is time. According to the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education (1996), teachers need a significant amount of instruction with follow-up days of technical assistance to develop new pedagogical skills. Such time can be built into the school day through flexible and creative scheduling or by extending the school year. The American Federation of Teachers (1995) urges that teachers have time during the workday for their professional growth.
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