Recommendation Three:
Provide opportunities for teachers to assume responsibility for their own PD through formal and informal means.


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.

Create a personal professional development plan focused on increasing instructional capacity.  Incorporate online learning opportunities into personal professional development plan.

Professional Development:  By Your Own Design
The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education and the National Staff Development Council.
This website created is designed to help teachers create and implement an individual professional learning plan.  Sections covered in this comprehensive tool include getting started, building a foundation, selecting learning strategies, and measuring results.  Each section includes links to readings as well as discussion and reflection tools.  A thoughtful site that focuses and guides efforts, By Your Own Design has the potential to increase the instructional capacity of teachers.

Anytime, Anywhere
Tardif, S.S.  (2004, July/August). Access Learning.
This link provides descriptions of five of the best online professional development opportunities so that teachers and administrators are not overwhelmed by the amount and variety of information online.   It also provides an online professional development "shopping list" to help readers evaluate different programs on their own.”

E-Learning for Educators: Implementing the Standards for Staff Development
National Staff Development Council (2001).
This guide discusses the potential of e-learning to enhance professional development and the drawbacks of relying too heavily on this form of learning. The authors provide guiding questions and a decision matrix to ensure that online professional development opportunities meet the quality standards outlined by the National Staff Development Council and result in real teacher and student learning.

Keys to quality:  Five questions to ask before you choose an online professional development provider
Nussbaum-Beach, S., and Norton, J.  (2004).  Access Learning.
This article is intended to guide teachers through the selection of online professional development opportunities.  In addition to listing five key questions about professional development resources, the author recommends elated resources ranging from established standards for online professional development opportunities to rubrics for evaluating online professional development opportunities.

Online professional development collection
Cable in the Classroom.
Cable in the Classroom is an organization dedicated to improving teaching and learning in America by increasing the use of instructional technology.  This link highlights high-quality online professional development programs.  The page includes course descriptions, links, and samples of selected coursework from some of the best electronic learning opportunities.

Harvard from Home:  How the right mix of online and in-person professional development can lead to lasting improvements in classroom practice
Nussbaum-Beach, S., and Norton, J.  (2004). Access Learning.
This article from Access Learning magazine examines the advantages and disadvantages of online professional development.  It explains the importance of balancing online professional development with face-to-face interaction and includes a list of related resources, which offer online learning opportunities for teachers.

The Teacher Leaders Network
The Southeast Center for Teaching Quality
This website, an initiative of the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality, provides an electronic home for educators interested in leadership.  Providing resources in areas from coaching and mentoring to NCLB and action research, this link can connect teachers to a wealth of professional resources that empower them to act as leaders in their schools.

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.

Seek summer employment with companies that can increase content knowledge and professional expertise.

Partnership pays off for business and schools
Curtis, D. (2000, September 1). Edutopia Online. The George Lucas Foundation.
The Bayer Corporation has established one of the most successful business-education partnerships in their “Making Science Make Sense” program.  This article from the George Lucas Educational Foundation outlines the program which provides professional development opportunities for teachers and content-based presentations to students in schools across America.



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