Recommendation One:

Ensure professional development provides teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with all learners.


Role Group Strategies:

Become reflective practitioners by collaborating with colleagues, creating critical friends groups, or participating in action research.

Their Key to Survival:  Each Other
Gingold, H.  (2004, June). Classroom Leadership, 7(9).
This article from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development describes the work of four teachers in Liverpool, N.Y. who created a “collaborative teacher network” designed to support one another throughout the school year.  The four teachers worked as a team, planning lessons and instruction, evaluating the results of their teaching, and refining their professional practice.  They set aside time each week to meet with one another, and kept in regular contact via email and phone calls.  As a result, their teaching improved and they each developed skills required of reflective practitioners.

Teacher Collaboration Supports Instructional Change
The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.  (2003, Summer/Fall)
This guide from NCREL outlines strategies for adopting a collaborative approach to professional development.  Several different models of collaboration are introduced, real-life examples are shared, and practical observation tools are included.

Action Research Tools and Resources
The Teacher Leaders Network
The members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a major initiative of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, recently examined the process and potential of action research as a school improvement tool.  This web page features an extensive list of action research resources.  Included are articles related to action research, sample action research projects, and reviews of books that are designed to introduce educators to the process of action research.

The Buddy System
Wagner, Tony. (2005). Teacher Magazine
Tony Wagner, a principal and former high school English teacher, contrasts the team work characteristic of other professions with the isolation of teaching. He suggests “lesson study” groups as the most effective form of collaboration and observation and recommends implementing a system for peer feedback school-wide rather than making participation voluntary.

Redesigning Professional Development:  Critical Friends
Bambino, D.  (2002, March). Educational Leadership, 59(6), 25-27.
Because of their shared experiences, teachers can often provide the most effective instructional support to their colleagues.  One model for this type of collaboration is the Critical Friends Group.  This article introduces the concept and benefits of Critical Friends groups and tells the stories of three schools that have implemented Critical Friends groups with great success.

Themes in Education:  Action Research
Ferrance, E.  (2000). Themes in Research. Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory.
This booklet introduces the concept of action research, a process of careful reflection on practice that encourages collaboration and allows teachers to address issues that are pertinent to their settings.  It provides an overview of the history of action research, an explanation of a process for completing it, stories from two teachers who have completed action research, and links to additional action research resources.

What is Action Research?
Sagor, R.  (2000). 
Guiding School Improvement with Action Research.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
This chapter from the book Guiding School Improvement with Action Research by Richard Sagor introduces the concept of and processes involved in action research.  He discusses the impact action research has on building reflective practitioners, achieving school-wide priorities, and building professional cultures and outlines a seven-step process common to any action research project.

Pursue certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Teacher Diary:  On the Road to National Certification
Starr, L.  (2003, August). Education World.
This website connects to five diaries written by teachers working through the process of Board Certification in 2003.  Accompanied by an overview of the process of Board Certification, these diaries allow readers to understand the changes that teachers working for certification undergo and the type of reflection that the process encourages.

Beginning the Journey toward National Board Certification
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2003, August 26).
This guide from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards describes the certificates, standards, and steps involved in the process of National Board Certification.

NBPTS:  Building better teachers
Starr, L.  (2004, April). Education World.
This Education World interview with Joseph A. Aguerrebere Jr., President of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, outlines the process of board certification, as well as the benefits for teachers and students.  It is a brief and informative look at the potential that board certification has for changing teaching and learning in America.

Attend professional development sessions offered by the North Carolina Teacher Academy and other state sponsored professional development offerings.

The North Carolina Teacher Academy
Funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Teacher Academy offers week-long professional development sessions throughout the summer months.  Several of these sessions focus on school leadership.  Teachers are provided with room and board, continuing education credits, and an honorarium of $100 per day for participating.

Request and participate in professional development offerings pertaining to teaching second-language learners or students with individual education plans.


Excelling English Language Learners: An Innovative Professional Development Program
Intercultural Development Research Association (2002)
This article describes the ExCELS program – a professional development program developed by the Intercultural Development Research Association that focuses on English Language Learners. The program focuses on teacher training, technical support, teacher mentoring, partnerships with parents, and forming ESL learning communities that encourage collaboration among ESL teachers, content area teachers, and administrators.


In the Classroom: A Toolkit for Effective Instruction of English Learners
National Center for English Language Acquisition (2005)
This is a collection of resources and strategies for improving instruction of English Language Learners. It summarizes research and effective practices that pertain to school skills, elementary grade-level content, secondary grade-level content, addressing diverse needs, home/school connections, and interrupted formal schooling.


Immigrant Students and Secondary School Reform: Compendium of Best Practices
Council of Chief State Schools Officers (2004)
The report contains recommendations in six areas, including professional development, pertaining to best practices for teaching English language learners in high schools. The authors advocate sustained and comprehensive professional development programs for all teachers who teach English language learners. A section entitled “best practices in theory” articulates principals of successful professional development pertaining to English language learners, and “best practices in action” describes exemplary programs.


No Train, No Gain
Shreve, Jenn. (Nov. 2005) Edutopia.
This article addresses the rising numbers of English language learners (ELL) in American classrooms and the lack of preparation to teach such students. The author discusses the rapid increase in ELL students and the areas most affected. She describes an effort in New York City to provide more professional development pertaining to teaching ELL students, suggests that all school districts set aside more money for professional development related to teaching ELL students, and recommends employing ELL specialists as mentors for other teachers.


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