THE PRACTICE: Professional development should provide opportunities to gain an understanding of the theory underlying the knowledge and skills being learned.
Content Presented By:
National Partnership for Excellence & Accountability in Teaching
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Resources related to this practice:
Appropriating Conceptual and Pedagogical Tools for Teaching English: A Conceptual Framework for Studying Professional Development (1999)
The authors of this article from the ERIC Center for English Learning and Achievement propose using perspectives developed in a framework of activity theory to inform our understanding of teacher development. They explore the dimensions of appropriation of the tools teachers use to guide and implement classroom practice and reflect on activity theory's value as a context in which to assess learning-to-teach processes.
Peer-Assisted Leadership (PAL) Program
Non-judgmental, inquiry-based approach to leadership development in which
principals form partnerships to help each other reflect on their practice. PAL
partners work together over a period of 4 to 8 months, shadowing and
interviewing each other to collect data and analyze their leadership activities
in context. Participants also meet regularly as a group, learning and practicing
various inquiry skills (e.g., shadowing, interviewing, theme identification), as
well as sharing and processing their partnership experiences. These
meetings, together with the partnerships, provide a supportive forum for
professional dialog that reduces isolation, deepens understanding, and
Questioning and Understanding to Improve Learning and Thinking (QUILT)
Staff development program designed to increase students' true thinking time by helping teachers improve their classroom questioning techniques. Three
major components are provided in the program: (1) Induction training: Teachers learn about effective questioning techniques during a 3-day
(18-hour) introductory training period conducted by members of a local
facilitation team; (2) Collegiums: Participants meet in seven 90-minute
seminars throughout the school year to learn, share, and interact about
particular questioning behaviors targeted for practice and improvement; and
(3) Partnering: Teachers observe and are observed by partners six times
during the year.
Strategic Teaching and Reading Project (STRP)
Focus on professional development based on the premise that teachers must
receive training and support in strategic teaching in order to help students
become strategic readers and learners themselves. STRP, developed by the
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), emphasizes the
team approach, which spreads the demands of instructional leadership
among team members, builds on areas of expertise, fosters collaboration, and
reduces threats to the continuity of the project that can come from staff
Using Case Studies to Inform Professional Development
Describes the Mathematics Case Methods project that references a collection
of cases for use by primary teachers and another for classroom discussion by
students with teachers serving as facilitators. The cases portray real-life
teaching dilemmas that build teacher capacity through the careful process of
reflection and inquiry generated by facilitated discussions with other teachers.
They assist teachers in developing deep pedagogical content knowledge, the
ability to see the subject through the eyes of the student, and to know what instructional experiences can be used to capitalize on that child's thinking.
Whether cases are content specific or deal with broader teaching issues, case
discussants examine different approaches to teaching and learning,
considering the benefits and drawbacks of each.
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