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What Do We Know about Professional Development? - Previous Revision

Summaries of the latest research on effective professional development:

  • Anagnostopoulos, D., Smith, E.,  Nystrand, M.. (2008). Creating Dialogic Spaces to Support Teachers' Discussion Practices: An Introduction. English Education  41(1), 4-12.

    Collaborative efforts among teachers, teacher educators, and university researchers can facilitate development of institutional discussion practices that teachers can apply in the classroom. Using dialogic spaces as sites of interaction within and across university teacher education and secondary English classrooms, a rich set of conceptual and practical tools for understanding and enacting cross-institutional practices can be developed.

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  • Ball, A. F. (Mar. 2009). Toward a Theory of Generative Change in Culturally Linguistically Complex Classrooms.  American Educational Research Journal (AERJ), 46(1), 45-72.

    Research shows that teachers in culturally and linguistically complex classrooms can internalize professional development that can serve as a heuristic in helping them plan their individual instruction programs. Teachers can develop generative knowledge and draw upon that knowledge when teaching students.

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  • Diaz-Maggioli, G. (2004). Teacher-centered professional development. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

    Research shows that teachers gain from professional development experiences when they are able to tailor strategies to their needs, collaborate with peers, and plan professional development events.

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  • Loschert, K. (Sept. 2003). Teachers and ESPs speak up about their professional development needs. NEA Today. Washington: 22(1), 33.

    Research shows that educators are focusing on student achievement when they think about the goals of professional development.  Consequently, some educators are taking control of the planning of career development events.

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Anagnostopoulos, D., Smith, E.,  Nystrand, M. abstract

Though discussion practices vary widely in English classrooms, ranging from teacher elaborations of student answers to predetermined questions, what Wells ( 1993) calls the IRF (Initiation-Response-Follow-up) pattern, to debates and open-ended exchanges of ideas (Alvermann, O'Brien, & Dillon, 1990), the articles in this issue focus on developing English teachers' understanding of and skill in facilitating open-ended discussions that build on students' understandings and engage students in co-constructing meaning of and through literary texts. On the one hand, lectures can be useful when they respond to, anticipate, and/or engender curiosity and important student questions. In looking across the varied contexts of teacher learning- the university methods class, a cross-institutional teacher educator network, and a research-based professional development project- the articles illustrate how collaborative efforts by teachers, teacher educators, and university researchers across their respective institutional settings can facilitate not only teachers' development of their discussion practices but can also contribute to the creation of what Engeström calls horizontal expertise (Engeström, 2003; Engeström, Engeström, & Karkkainen, 1995; Kerosuo & Engeström, 2005) for teaching and teacher education.

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Ball abstract

This article situates the preparation of teachers to teach in culturally and linguistically complex classrooms in international contexts. It investigates long-term social and institutional effects of professional development and documents processes that facilitate teachers' continued learning. Data from a decade-long study of U.S. and South African teachers supported a model of generative change that explained how professional development could be internalized by teachers, subsequently serving as a heuristic to help them organize their individual programs of instruction. Drawing primarily on two case studies, this article documents teachers' development of generative knowledge and illustrates how they drew on that knowledge in thinking about students and teaching. The results were to facilitate generative thinking on the part of their students as well.

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Diaz-Maggioli abstract

A hands-on guide to collaborative skill building for educators. The book is centered on the author’s Teacher’s Choice Framework: a model that empowers teachers by helping them choose and initiate professional growth activities according to their schedules, strengths, and needs. Most of the chapters in the book are devoted to different professional development strategies, including mentoring, action research, and journal writing. For each strategy, the author includes: a brief history of the research base, a step-by-step guide to implementing the strategy, sample handouts and assessment forms, examples from the field of the strategy in practice.

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