From Arkansas Adult Learning Professional/Staff development Plan, 1996-99, by Patricia White
varieties of staff development activity
Group-Guided Staff Development:
Study Groups / Group Projects
WHO:4 - 6 practitioners (number is flexible)
WHAT: Read, discuss, and study a specific topic
WHY: To implement new practices for the benefit of their students
HOW:Collect information, discuss, and document findings; implement new knowledge
A small group of four to six practitioners work together on a regular basis to read, discuss, and study a topic they choose in order to implement new practices for the benefit of their students. The group engages in the pursuit of pertinent questions and problems. Participants collect information, discuss, and document their findings.
Practitioners work together on a project, such as developing a new curriculum, new materials, or a new program component. Participants document/distribute results appropriately.
WHO:Small group plus facilitator
WHAT: Express opinions and attitudes, and brainstorm new ideas or topics
WHY:To "focus" on a particular issue
HOW: Record comments and distribute to all participants
Typically, a small group of practitioners, guided by a facilitator, expresses opinions, attitudes, and brainstorms new ideas or specific topics. The group (fewer than 20 people) comes together to "focus" on a particular issue.Comments should be recorded and distributed to all participants.
Support Groups/Teacher Networks
WHO: Teachers and/or volunteers in the same region
WHAT: Meet regularly
WHY: To support specific training initiatives
HOW: Share ideas, experiences, and outcomes; formulate solutions; distribute synopsis of meetings to all participants
Teachers and/or volunteers in the same region or area meet together regularly to support specific training initiatives. The group shares ideas, experiences, and outcomes and formulates possible solutions. A synopsis of the meeting should be compiled and distributed to all participants.
ACTION RESEARCH / INQUIRY RESEARCH WHO:Small or large group, or individual WHAT: Interact in non-traditional ways with knowledge, resources, individuals within the adult learning system WHY:To legitimize the practitioner's role as a generator (not consumer) of knowledge, and be recognized as an expert in the field; to put new into practice; to improve instruction and impact learner
HOW:Action Research: Identify a problem in instructional practice or document "best practices"; collect information; document finding information with others Inquiry Research: Conduct systematic and intentional inqui teaching and learning in own program setting; collect information; document findings; implement new strategies / techniques, if any
Action Research (Group) An investigative approach that allows practicitioners to acquire and generate knowledge within their own educational communities. Action research requires participants to interact in non traditional ways with knowledge, resources, and individuals within the adult learning system. It legitimizes the practitioner's role as a generator (not just a consumer) of knowledge and recognizes him/her as an expert in his/her own field. The instructor [or group of instructors] could identify a problem that arises out of his/her instructional practice. Action research may also document existing "best practices" or test out a new classroom procedure. The participant(s) collects information, documents his/her findings, and shares the information with others in order to put new ideas into practice. (The action research could be part of college credit if done with a higher education institution.)
Individually-Guided Staff Development:
Individual Professional Development Plans WHO:Individual WHAT: Develop individual professional development goals within those of larger program goals WHY: To improve knowledge base and instructional strategies / technique HOW:Collaborate with administrator to develop goals; administrator evaluator periodically for the purpose of guidance and support Adult education practitioners develop individual professional development goals within the context of larger program goals. Administrators evaluate the professional development plans on a regular and timely basis to provide guidance and support.
Action Research (Individual) (See description in Group-Guided Staff Development Section)
Inquiry A range of approaches to adult learning that purposefully builds on the richness and diversity of real-world experiences and knowledge that teachers, tutors, volunteers, and administrators currently bring to the field. Inquiry-based staff development positions the practitioner as a learner, researcher, and reformer. The practitioner formulates questions about his/her own practices in adult education. He/she conducts systematic and intentional inquiries into teaching and learning in his/her own program settings and uses this information to improve instruction and impact learner outcomes.
WHAT: Share ideas and experiences with others in the field
WHY: To improve knowledge base and instructional strategies / technique
HOW:Prepare a workshop or write an article
Practitioner writes an article or prepares a workshop that shares ideas and experiences with others in the field. For example, for [...a website, ] a newsletter, ... or for a professional development conference.
WHO:Individual WHAT: Share ideas and experiences from workshops, conferences, or professional/staff development events outside the program with oth the field WHY:To improve knowledge base and instructional strategies / technique HOW:Write a report or give an oral presentation
Practitioners who attend workshops, conferences, or other staff development events outside the program share information and ideas from those events with other practitioners. Sharing may be done in person or with a written report. Observation and Feedback:
WHO: An experienced teacher or volunteer (mentor) and a less-experienced teacher or volunteer WHAT: Mentor serves as role model, helper, resource person, guide, WHY: To improve knowledge base and instructional strategies / technique HOW:Establish formal or informal relationship with regularly scheduled documented meetings to focus on specific topics
An experienced teacher or volunteer is paired with a less experienced teacher or volunteer in similar programs. The mentor serves as a role model, helper, resource person, guide, and advisor. Mentoring may be a formal or informal relationship with regularly scheduled and documented meetings to focus on specific topics.
WHAT: Observe other instructors in the classroom and provide feed
WHY: To improve knowledge base and instructional strategies / technique train new instructors or volunteers; to provide opportunities for and reflection on professional practice
HOW: A colleague observes and gives documented feedback to the practiti volunteer being observed
Teachers/volunteers observe other instructors' classrooms and provide feedback. This process may be especially helpful in training new instructors, as opportunities for analysis and reflection on professional practice are made available. A colleague observes and gives documented feedback to the practitioner or volunteer being observed.
Programs may exchange teachers or have personnel visit other programs. The visitors will observe classes, talk with program staff and students and learn about the other program's goals, strengths, and challenges; the visitors will both contribute and gain new ideas. Programs may work together to solve problems held in common or design ways to share resources. Notes or other records documenting the exchange should be retained by both programs.
Practitioners elicit information from students through questionnaires, surveys, writings, and meet with them to discuss the program, get feedback from them, hear problems and suggestions, etc. Results of information collection should be documented and distributed among students who participated, as well as retained by the program.
One teacher visits another teacher's class to "guest teach," usually to demonstrate a particular approach, technique, activity, or to deal with a specific content area. The lesson should be documented, either in writing or on video tape, and retained by both programs.
Audio/Video Taping Classes are taped so that teachers can observe themselves and (with permission) each other. [LR/RI note: taping only students enables teachers to focus on learner activity; audio ensures that teacher has a good sense of his/her activities, even if s/he does not appear on camera.] Videos should be retained by the program for future viewing, or for sharing with other programs.
Training: Workshops, Classes, Institutes, Conferences
Expert presenters select objectives, learning activities, and outcomes; the improvement of teachers' skills for student performance improvement being the goal. The most effective training includes demonstration, exploration of theory, and supervised active application of new skill with feedback. Training should increase professionalism through reflective thought and active participation in planning, facilitating, and evaluating activities. Records of attendance or certificates of completion will be maintained for verification.
A professional development activity held 30-60 days after initial training. Follow-up should provide practice, feedback, and support, and it should enable participants to focus on new skills, processes, and impact on students. Options for follow-up activities include: mentorship, peer coaching, collegial support groups, study groups, and/or refresher workshops. Records of attendance or other appropriate documentation will be maintained for verification.
New Staff Orientation
Pre-service training for new practitioners addresses the knowledge, skills, and competencies relevant to adult educators. Training includes adult learning theory, orientation to the mission of adult education/literacy in Arkansas, assessment and student intake procedures, teaching strategies, and materials overview. Agendas or other appropriate documentation should be maintained.
back to LR/RI professional development plan