Title

Professional learning opportunities that enhance teachers' learning

Date of Completion

January 2009

Keywords

Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Degree

Ed.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the specific professional development opportunities that teachers reported as enhancing their proficiency. The conceptual frame for this qualitative, theory-building study was drawn from the research on how adults learn best. Specifically, this study focused on ways in which teachers' professional learning process involved opportunities: (1) for collaboration and practice, (2) that promoted teachers' sense of relatedness and self-efficacy, and (3) that enabled teachers to explore and thereby enhance the mental models they used to guide their practice. Data were obtained from interviews of 8 teachers in an urban elementary school that had been engaged in professional development as a mechanism for school reform. Triangulation of data occurred through interviews with the principal and literacy coach, field observations, and document review. Findings indicated that learning was enhanced when teachers had the opportunities for collaboration, practice, co-teaching, and mentoring. These opportunities promoted a sense of relatedness among teachers, built their self-efficacy, and allowed them to explore and enhance the mental models they used to guide their practice. Results provided a variety of implications for practice that would enhance teacher learning in a public school setting.^