Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teacher Professional Development Resources

Adult Learning
Knowles, M. (1984). The adult learner: A neglected species. (3rd ed.), Houston: Gulf Publishing.
Knowles, M. (1984). Andragogy in action: Applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Knowles created the foundation of the modern concept of andragogy, or teaching theory and strategies which focus on the adult learner. He proses several key characteristics of working with adult learners: 1) They need a purpose for learning 2) They need to make their own choices in the learning process 3) Their experiences should be central to the learning process 4) Learning need to be relevant to their needs 5) Self-motivation is greater than external motivators 6) Learning should be problem-focused, not content focused.

Teacher Learning
Hammerness, K., Darling-Hammond, L., Bransford, J., Berliner, D., Cochran-Smith, M., McDonald, M., & Zeichner, K. (2005). How teachers learn and develop. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford (Eds.) Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do (pp. 358-389). Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
Although this chapter focuses on pre-service and novice teachers, there are many ideas that can be applied to teachers who are learning new techniques or methods. The authors contend that teachers need to be “adaptive experts” (p. 360) who are able to balance efficiency and innovation to effectively respond to complex classroom needs. To become an expert, a teacher must be motivated to be a lifelong learner, which requires deep reflection about teaching practices. The balance between efficiency, with routines and procedures, and innovation to adapt to individual learning needs is best supported through collegial work with more expert teachers. This allows the novice to address preconceptions, see the work in action, and be more meta-cognitive about the practice.

Professional Development
Ball, D. L. & Cohen, D. K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In G. Sykes and L. Darling-Hammond (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 3-32). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
“Any design for improved professional learning must be grounded in the cornerstones of education: what needs to be learned (content), the nature of that content and what that implies about how it might be learned (theories of learning), curriculum and pedagogy (with what material and in what ways the learners can be helped to learn that content, given who they are, the nature of what there is to be learned, and theories of how it is best learned)” (p. 6) [Bold mine]. Although it sounds obvious, much of the professional development that teachers endure don't address the fundamentals of good pedagogy. The author break down each area with questions that professional development programs should ask before implementation.