What Tips Professional Development to Classroom Application?

ProfDevI am writing this blog as I am also in the midst of preparing initial budgets and looking at capacity and how OCM BOCES delivers professional development to component schools.   For the 12-13 school year, just the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department provided 130 days of regional professional development.  Much of this is in a traditional model; teachers come to BOCES and work with others for 1-6 days on a given topic.  Additionally 53 days were spent on site in schools- this was a mixture of traditional workshop delivery only within the district as opposed to multiple districts, but other days were spent coaching.  So far this year ( 13-14), coaching days have increased dramatically- more than the total for all of last year and it is only end of November! This is important to me because my experience and research tells us that professional development without peer support does little to change student outcomes.  While the background on theory and the opportunity to expand one’s thinking, such as in traditional professional development opportunities is important, it is not adequate. Research from Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers in 2002 indicate professional development design has  five primary delivery approaches:

  • Theory:  background on the what and why
  • Demonstration:  model on how it can be done in practice
  • Practice: teachers have opportunity to try
  • Feedback:  providing feedback on teacher use
  • Coaching:  combined with feedback,  assist teachers to determine what to do next to improve practice

In fact, when they reviewed over 200 professional development programs, they found that teachers could provide data indicating that they learned concepts, and intended to implement the new practice in their classrooms.  However, in most cases within a few weeks, the teachers had either not followed through or had returned to previous teaching practices.  But, when we look deeper at the research we find that as Paul Harvey used to say, “there is more to the story…”  In fact, when examining the delivery designs we find that there is a significant difference between delivery design of the professional development and teacher application within the classroom.  In order to have results, we find that we need the accumulation of all the delivery designs and that coaching with feedback tips the practice into application.

PD Delivery Design Teacher Report Knowledge of Content Teacher Report Ability to Implement Skill Teacher  Application in the Classroom
Theory through presentation 10% 5% 0%
Theory plus demonstration 30% 20% 0%
Theory, demonstration plus practice opportunities 60% 60% 5%
Theory, demonstration, practice plus feedback and coaching 95% 95% 95%

Joyce and Showers, 2002

So what does this mean to us?  It seems to indicate that while we need to continue to develop opportunities for teachers to come together for background and theory with embedded demonstrations and practice, we need to increase our awareness and promotion of coaching.  Next month I will continue with thinking about coaching and what makes quality coaching.

Radicello_Lynn_WEBUntil next time,

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