Professional development is a very important part of teacher education and growth.
There are many different options available when planning a session of professional development.
It is necessary to study and do research to find new and improved methods of delivering
professional development. Many different methods of research and analysis are available and
utilized. The collection of data must be evaluated and compared so that conclusions can be made.
More often than not, professional development is planned, executed, and evaluated by
administration. In a recent study, 20 principals were selected to participate in a series of surveys
and interviews. The survey’s were used and guidelines for the interviews (Vandenberghe,
Kelchtermans, Maes, 2000). This study allowed for principals to give reasoning and criteria used
for the selection of professional development programs. Notable finding include the desire for
“practical language” and principal involvement for greater productivity (Vandenberghe,
Kelchtermans, Maes, 2000).
In another case study regarding administrative control, professional development was
studied in one district over a period of four years (Sandholts & Scribner, 2006). Documents
relevant to professional development were collect, interviews were conducted and meetings,
workshops, and other sessions were observed as well (Sandholts & Scribner, 2006). Evaluation
of the research found that teachers felt undervalued when it came to their input. The same study
also found that administration, including district administrators acted in a way that allowed for
the appearance of more teacher control when in fact the administrators maintained authority.
Similar to the findings reported by Vandenberghe, Kelchtermans, and Maes, these teachers also
felt that a lack of resources and lack of continuity delivered in the professional development
workshops hindered their progress.
A Technology Academy was put into place to service 25 volunteer teachers with
technology and classroom integration (Brinkerhoff, 2204). Participants spent extended periods
of time in group workshops learning new skills and methods for applying technology in the
classroom. The Technology Academy was run over a two year period. Participants were given
instruction along with special materials to execute goals and objectives. The participant’s
experience was evaluated through simple observations, audio-taped interviews, and self-
evaluating surveys. Participants reported mild levels of improvement in their skills as well as
being more confident with technology (Brinkerhoff, 2004). The problem with the academy was
that participants were unable or unwilling to apply their new skills in their daily classroom
In an additional study, 185 literacy teacher were took part in a three-part questionnaire
(Teberg, 1999). Teacher was asked to report on their opinion of effective professional
development. After the questionnaires were collect, additional group interviews were conducted.
The group interviews were conducted to allow the teacher to clarify and expand upon their
questionnaire responses (Teberg, 1999). According to the data analysis, the two strongest desires
for effective professional development were time and money. Teachers felt that they would
benefit from additional time with colleagues for collaboration. However, they also felt that this
would require additional funding to support that time.
In one study, Six Australian schools were evaluated on their technology integration
programs. Schools were recognized by their size, location, and faculty turnover rate. Again, data
was collected in three methods: questionnaires and interviews of the staff, including teacher and
technology coordinators, and analysis of school provided documents (Treagust & Rennie, 1991).
A common theme proved to be that time and money was considered to be a factor when
evaluating the effectiveness of the program.
A study was conducted in rural school district of Pennsylvania. 400 professional staff
member s were surveyed to determine their level computer utilization both within the
educational process and at home (Wright & Lesisko, 2008). These teachers were subject to
questionnaires that were collected during regular faculty meetings. The research found a
considerable difference between the reporting’s of elementary and secondary teachers. The
teachers in the middle and secondary schools had an overall higher knowledge of technology and
were more likely to use it in their daily lessons (Wright & Lesisko, 2008).
A group of seven schools were selected based upon their urban location and below
average test scores. Again the data was collect through obtaining district documents, observing
professional development workshops and meetings, and interviews district staff that had a
connection to the professional development responsibilities (Youngs & King, 2000). During this
study, it was once again noted that teachers felt they had insignificant input in regards to the
progress of the professional development.
Another study of the role of professional development in technology was conducted and
two schools were chosen based on the fact that their teachers were part of the program The
Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning (QTL™) (Matzen & Edmunds, 2007). Data was
collected through interviews and observations of participating teachers. Each participant was also
asked to write in a journal and answer specific questions. Participants were also three identical
surveys throughout the year-long process. One case study was also preformed on one individual
teacher. The evaluation of this research showed that teachers that were involved in dual
professional development programs, for example QTL™ and district professional development
were more open and willing to change lessons and become more technology centered.
In a study addressing the lack of attention to teacher perspectives on change and the
professional development process 41 participants were selected based on their participation in
the Total Literacy Connection (TLC) (Nielsen, Barry, Staab, 2007). Data was collected was
collected using focus group interviews. Each of the six group interviews lasted approximately 90
minutes and was held over a period of two months. Teachers reported that they were able to
respond to change both as learners and agents of change (Nielsen, Barry, Staab, 2007).
In a study that measured how colleagues affect each other in terms of professional
development accepted 14 participants, all of which were high school teacher in the same district
(Park, Oliver, Johnson, Graham, Oppong, 2006) The method of this study was based on
interviews. The participating teachers were also involved in practicing the interview process on
one another to avoid possible mistakes. Once again support was a major issue identified by the
participants. According to this particular study, colleagues supporting each other towards a
common goal gave much needed support.
Four teachers volunteered to participate in an extensive study using the INSITE training
model (Askvig, Coonts, Haarstad, 1999). Two teachers completed the study through telephone
interviews and videotaped sessions with students. Because only two of the participants
completed the study the data collected cannot be representative of the original group.
In a final study, 16 schools from the north coast of Australia were selected to participate
in research that took place over the span of two years. Teachers were surveyed prior to the
beginning of the research. Overall teachers reported a low level of confidence for independent
learning (Phelps & Graham, 2008). The results of the study were compiled by the individual
schools (Phelps & Graham, 2008).
After reviewing each study it was apparent that limited participation was often a concern
of the researchers. Several studies also showed that participants, mainly teachers, felt a lack of
support from administration while trying to progress with professional development. Many
teachers also felt they had a lack of input when deciding on professional development. However,
many participants also reported an increase in confidence and ability after completion of the
training. Common themes among each study include method of data collection and reporting.
Surveys, individual, and group interviews were used repeatedly.
Askvig, B., Haarstad, C., & Coonts, T. (1999). Teacher performance follow-up from large
group training: a pilot study. Department of Education, Washington, DC.; North Dakota Center
for Persons with Disabilities, Minot.; North Dakota State Dept. of Public Instruction, Bismarck.
Brinkerhoff, J. (2006). Effects of a Long-Duration, Professional Development Academy on
Technology Skills, Computer Self-Efficacy, and Technology Integration Beliefs and Practices.
Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39 (1), 22-43.
Nielsen, D.C., Barry, A.L., & Staab, P. T. (2008). Teachers’ reflections of professional change
during a literacy-reform initiative. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24 (5), 1288-1303.
Phelps, R., & Graham, A. (2008, Summer ). Developing technology together, together: A whole-
school metacognitive approach to ICT teacher professional development. Journal of
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of Whole-School Curriculum Innovations. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the
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use. North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium.
Sandholtz, J. H. & Scribner, S. P. (2006). The paradox of administrative control in fostering
teacher professional development. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 1104-1117.
Soonhye, P., Oliver, S. J., Johnson, T. S., Graham, P., & Oppong, N. K. (2007). Colleagues' roles
in the professional development of teachers: Results from a research study of national
board certification. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23, 368-389.
Teberg, A. (1999). Identified Professional Development Needs of Teachers in Curriculum
Reform. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research
Association, Montreal, Quebec.
Vandenberghe, R., Kelchtermans, G., & Maes, F. (2000, April 24-28). Valuable In-Service
Training: Evaluation by Principals. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the
American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.
Wright, R. J., Lesisko, L. J. (2008, March 24-28). Technology infusion in a rural school system:
A case study from Pennsylvania. Online Submission; Paper presented at the Annual
Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.
Youngs, P., & Kings, B. M. (2000). Professional Development That Addresses Professional
Community in Urban Elementary Schools. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the
American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.