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Discussion: From Professional Development to Student Outcomes

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posted by: Kalyani Raghavan on March 14, 1998 at 8:05AM
subject: what changes in classroom practice with pd
I am Kalyani Raghavan and this is a follow up to John's and Bryan's

ASSET project provides three major types of professional development
opportunities. Instructional strategies training includes workshops that
introduce the Focus, Explore, Reflect, Apply (FERA)learning cycle,
questioning techniques, constructivism, and alternative assessments. In
module training sessions, teachers become familiar with topics and
activities included in specific STC or FOSS modules. The third type
consists of enhancements that promote networking, including community
extension options, the resource roadtrip, and the leadership conference.
The 22 teachers observed last year were classified into two groups of
low and high involvement in ASSET activities. To qualify for the high
group, a teacher must have participated in two or more sessions of each
of two types of training. Teachers in the High group have participated
in two or more sessions from at least two of the three classes of
training. Using this criteria, there were eleven teachers in each group.
The two groups were compared using the Horizon classroom observation
protocol, including design, implementation, content, culture, and likely
impact on students. There were certain aspects in which the high group
fared better - teachers appeared more confident, lesson pace, and
allowing students a bit more latitude in their explorations and were
more likely to use summaries or discussion to interconnect various
lesson activities. In high- group classrooms higher order questions
were occasionally posed, but they were almost invariably answered by the
teacher. However, generally intellectual engagement of students was low
and teachers' expectations of students seemed unexpectedly low with
students rarely challenged to think deeply about, elaborate, or defend
their ideas.
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