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Contributions of the CSMPs to Teacher Leaders

author: Inverness Research Associates
submitter: Mark St. John
description: This is one of three reports (Including The Contributions of Teacher Leaders and The Work of Teacher Leaders) wrriten by Inverness Associates on the California Subject Matter Projects (CSMP). "The CSMPs consist of nine Projects providing professional development in nine different 101 regional sites--all of which are designed to attract, develop, nurture, sustain, and promote teacher leadership."

This report examines the "ways in which the CSMPs provided a bridge between classroom practice and leadership activities."

published in: Inverness Research Associates
published: 1999
posted to site: 01/14/1999


Our survey of over 400 CSMP teacher leaders shows that the knowledge and support they gain from their experiences in CSMP programs is important to their ability to foster student learning. In turn, these teachers say they pass on their practitioner knowledge to the many teachers they work with in their roles as leaders. These teachers’ experiences thus suggest that the CSMPs can make a contribution to effective classroom teaching that is both valuable and extensive.

These findings help make the case for ongoing state and university support of the CSMPs — particularly because they document the value of the CSMPs from the perspective of some of the state’s most accomplished teachers. These are the teachers upon whom California depends for the widespread systemic improvement of teaching. There are no other statewide and ongoing professional development systems which can offer the kind of knowledge and support these teachers value as they improve their teaching. And there are no other systems that have the capacity to provide support to a substantial proportion of the state’s teachers.

Our survey also shows that these teacher leaders feel accountable primarily to the students in their classrooms, and secondarily to their students’ parents and to the integrity of their subject disciplines. Their desire to improve their teaching is what motivates them to learn. These teachers are committed to assessing student learning and to using the results of assessment to improve their teaching, but they are not being helped by external standardized assessments, and, in fact, regard them as barriers to their best practice. This suggests that the current policy trend of tying reform efforts tightly to standardized tests may well have the effect of alienating the very teachers the state depends upon for any effort to improve teaching.

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