Transcript - Professional Development Quality Standards Discussion November 12 - 30, 2007



Interests in Quality Professional Development

  • I want to be part of the discussion because as a trainer, I want, like others, to continue to expand my skills and learn more about what works and what does not. In addition I have had some wonderful successes recently and would love to share some bits and pieces of those with the list.
  • I try to avail myself of every opportunity to learn more about how adults learn and how to meet the needs of adult learners. My single biggest challenge at the moment is practical tips for working with teachers/tutors to get them invested in professional development and not in a place of seeing it as one more thing they have to do. I would welcome any suggestions on how to foster the kind of climate where people want to learn more and don't view professional development as a chore.
  • I am constantly on the look-out for ways to improve our offerings and my own skills as a training provider. The biggest challenge just might be keeping current with the many topics and issues relevant to adult educators and instruction!
  • I am very interested in discovering what other states have developed. I have a special interest in what constitutes high-quality, effective professional development and how to measure and evaluate it.
  • I think that for most of us, quality PD means something that we can go out and directly apply. I also enjoy learning theories, and the latest research on ideas about assimilating and retaining information.
  • I am interested in learning more about the range of approaches to providing professional development that are effective and provide quality experiences, particularly those approaches that reach across the miles.
  • I'd like to know the state of 'reflective practice' and how the participants have changed their stance on curriculum or aspects of learning (e.g. experiential learning, active learning, transformative learning).
  • How to enhance the quality of PD initiatives that are funded by the state office.
  • What you look forward to discussing: whether totally in-house, research based professional development will do what I have written just above (help my classroom be a more exciting place…including making me a more excited/exciting teacher). I have not read much adult education research that inspires me to be more excited or exciting.
  • I am always looking for better ways to work in the professional development arena.
  • Grounding PD in research to the fullest extent possible
  • Need for standards grounded in adult education versus K-12
  • Issues like:
    • Paid PD at the expense of student contact time
    • Need for good data to plan instruction
    • Assessing effectiveness with a transitory population
  • My interest lies in ideas for providing professional development to Workplace/ workforce instructors. We have a pool of approximately 50 instructors across the province and we do have a certification system. Adult educators are always in search of more training though and i hope to get ideas from other participants to this list. Workplace instructors have their own website: www.awens.ca
  • I am interested in professional development in Youth Development and Workforce Development, and want to learn more about Quality Standards in these areas.

Professional Development Experiences That Change Practice

Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1708] PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: Taylor, Jackie
Date: Mon Nov 12 09:52:55 EST 2007

Professional Development friends,

For the remainder of the month, we've set our sights on defining what we mean by quality professional development (PD), and finalizing a set of PD standards that the Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers (AALPD) will ultimately use to advance quality professional development in our field.

To accomplish this goal, I suggest we begin by exploring quality PD in general; the benefits and drawbacks of standards; the available PD research. We'll summarize what we identify from professional wisdom as characteristics (and examples) of quality PD that leads to teacher change. During our reflection week (Part II), we'll reflect on that summary and review the draft AALPD Quality PD standards.

In Part III, we'll use that summary in combination with the AALPD draft standards to refine a set of PD standards for our field.

Last week, Claire noted the importance of grounding standards in our field. On that note, why not start with our own experiences?

Please post your response to the following question:

Thinking back on your own journey as an educator, tell us about what has helped you make a shift in your thinking and acting-a PD experience or combination of experiences that you felt has helped you to improve your practice. (...versus something that you enjoyed attending but it didn't make a difference in the long run.)

If you are professional development staff, please also tell us about what you've seen to be effective in leading to teacher change.

I look forward to hearing from you ~

Best, Jackie

Jackie Taylor, Adult Literacy Professional Development List Moderator

National Institute for Literacy http://lincs.ed.gov/

Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers http://www.aalpd.org/


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1709] PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: David J. Rosen
Date: Mon Nov 12 10:50:53 EST 2007

AALPD Colleagues,

On November 11, 2007 Jackie Taylor wrote:

Thinking back on your own journey as an educator, tell us about what has helped you make a shift in your thinking and acting-a PD experience or combination of experiences that you felt has helped you to improve your practice. (…versus something that you enjoyed attending but it didn't make a difference in the long run.)

If you are professional development staff, please also tell us about what you've seen to be effective in leading to teacher change.

Sometimes, when I see someone do something well I ask, "How did you learn to do that?" Invariably, the person has not thought about this. Often, she has no idea. Sometimes, on reflection, she will have some clues and, as she talks about it, will be able to fill in some of the blanks. We do not often do this kind of reflection about how we learn. Thanks, Jackie, for providing this opportunity for reflection.

I rarely learn to do something well as a result of a workshop, or any one-time learning experience. I get interested in something, or I need to know how to do something to do another thing I want to do, or a question gives me an itch, or I face a recurring problem that needs to be solved. Then I begin to take steps. Some may be false starts, some may be detours or wasted time. But some also add knowledge or skills, provide new understandings. Eventually I learn what I set out to, or at least I learn enough to solve the problem, or to stop the intellectual itch.

Usually I learn on my own, from a combination of reading books and articles (often now on the Web) and doing something. Sometimes I take a course. A couple of times I have joined a study circle.

One of the most dramatic experiences that helped me improve my practice was a learning immersion that I needed to prepare for a K-12 professional development effort. My own professional development involved learning to grow rice.

I was in the Philippines to help elementary and high school teachers learn how to create and use authentic assessments, especially portfolios, for a project in which school children were learning how to grow rice and other crops without using pesticides. They were using an approach called Integrated Production and Pest Management (IPPM, or IPM) in which they performed experiments in a rice field near their school. The children were learning from expert farmer mentors and teachers, and from doing experiments in the field themselves. They did this in teams each week, for 18 weeks, from the beginning to the end of the crop cycle.

To be effective in helping the teachers learn how to use authentic assessment, I needed to understand the teachers' and students' context. So early in the morning after I arrived in Manila, World Education-Philippines flew me to the province of Camarines Sur. By 8:00 A.M. I was standing in a rice field. For the next three days, I would learn from children -- and their teachers -- how to grow rice. I observed them working in teams in the rice field, measuring, counting and drawing rice plants and weeds. I observed them creating elaborate Agro-Economic System Analysis (AESA) charts on, of course, Manila paper. I watched a member of each team present its results to the other teams, using drawings and charts. And I saw the teacher facilitate a process where the children made decisions about what their rice farm needed next: more weeding, more water, more insect traps, more ducks to eat the snails, or more "friendly" bugs to eat the "unfriendly" or "menacing" bugs that ate the rice. I watched as they made decisions that would lead to actions to keep the rice field's ecosystem in balance. (See my photos of this process at http://www.bubbleshare.com/album/263431 )

In the evenings I read manuals on growing rice. What would have been a yawn to read at home in Boston, was fascinating and engaging there. The brown leaf hopper [ http://www.flickr.com/photos/virilath/1716481834/ ] , the pest that had devastated the rice crop in the Philippines -- and in many Southeast Asian countries -- in the 1970's and 1980's, riveted me to the pages. [ http://tinyurl.com/ ywlo83 http://tinyurl.com/yv7ykt and http://tinyurl.com/382ake ]. I learned that the brown leaf hopper had become such a problem because its natural predators had been decimated by the overuse of pesticides, that an effective, low-cost, scientific solution was systematically bringing the farmland ecosystem back into balance by growing rice without using pesticides, and by using natural, not genetically-engineered rice. Farmers could save money they spent on "high-yield" rice (that produces no seed rice for the following cropping season) and pesticides, and could, in many cases, achieve the same yield or higher while growing healthier-to-eat rice under working conditions that were healthier for the farmers and their families.

With a colleague from the Philippine Normal University, an expert in authentic assessment who was learning to grow rice with me, I designed direct, valid, assessments that fit the context. We expanded our knowledge of rice-growing so that the assessments, and the process of administering them, would make sense to the teachers who would participate in our professional development on portfolio assessment. (The teachers had asked to learn how to use these assessments because they said the children were so learning so much that was not captured by their standardized multiple-choice tests.)

After we introduced the teachers to portfolio assessments and rubrics, after providing some examples, with photographs and drawings from our field experience, we asked the teachers to try the assessment models out, to adjust and tailor them to their classes' needs. We also provided follow-up opportunities for the teachers to discuss what they were doing, and we hosted a conference in which they presented their portfolio assessments, the results of using them, and their recommendations for how they would use them in the future.

Reflecting on this experience suggests several things to me. As educators, most of us already know how to do some things well. To grow professionally, we especially benefit from new learning that is connected to what we already know, that extends and challenges our understanding, knowledge and skills. This is a constructivist or project-based approach to learning. It makes sense for teachers in professional development as well as for students in adult literacy education classrooms. As a professional developer, this implies that participants need to have control of the learning activities, to tailor them to their own needs, their own goals and levels of knowledge and experience. They also need to be able to explore their own questions, and to connect what they are learning with what they are doing in their classrooms. This cannot be done in one workshop. It requires opportunities to learn, try out, synthesize, and share with colleagues. This in-depth professional development, the kind that significantly improves practice, takes time.

David J. Rosen


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1711] PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: K Olson
Date: Mon Nov 12 11:08:42 EST 2007

I agree with everything David has said (PD Experiences that Change Practice). But I'd like to raise a related issue. Many teachers do not have this 'need' to learn more. They are happy giving out packets of photocopied math worksheets or teaching ESL through a rigid grammar approach. They are not concerned with expanding their horizons. They look at their successes with their methods and see no reason to change. So, my question is, how do we as professional developers get these teachers to want to consider a change? While ideally intrinsic interest is the best way to learn and grow and change, are there some extrinsic things we can do as professional developers to stimulate a need and interest?

Kathy Olson

Training Specialist


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1712] Re: PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: Janet Isserlis
Date: Mon Nov 12 11:41:21 EST 2007

Kathy

What prompted you to consider change and growth?

It's difficult to suggest to people that they need to learn more, because until we know what we don't know, it's hard to know that we don't know it.

It seems that helping people talk/think through what they do, where they feel they're strong and then where they feel they might learn, might be a good way to start.

As well, bringing practitioners together to share their knowledge (as opposed to the default position of bringing in An Expert) might help shine a light for some around other people's good ideas (e.g. their colleagues' good ideas), which may in turn prompt a different kind of curiosity and interest in learning.

Janet Isserlis


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1713] Re: PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: David J. Rosen
Date: Mon Nov 12 12:05:39 EST 2007

Kathy, and others,

Several years ago I asked adult education teachers in the Boston area, "If you could have any kind of professional development you wanted, what would it be?" A large number of those who responded said they wanted to see what other adult education teachers were doing in their classrooms, even the classroom next door. Most adult education (and perhaps other) teachers are isolated. They don't have much time to talk with other teachers about practice, even teachers who work in the same center or school. They almost never can see what another teacher is doing in her class.

So, one thing that might help teachers consider change is seeing what other teachers do, how they might be solving similar problems using different approaches or methods.

Because this is so difficult to arrange, to get a substitute while one teacher visits another's class, I am interested in working with classroom teachers and tutors who would like to video record each other's practice and put these videos in an online library for others to use. To see what this might look like, go to http://mlots.org . If this is a project you are interested in, let me know.

David J. Rosen


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1717] Re: PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: Emma Bourassa
Date: Mon Nov 12 12:16:50 EST 2007

After reading David's entry for the Pro-D experience, I wanted to offer my greatest learning experience, which in a sense echoes his experiences in the Phillipines. I teach ESL to international pre-university students who come from 50 different countries.

About 7 years ago, how I had been teaching and what I had been teaching seemed to be faltering- I wondered what was wrong as all my previous methodology and practice had been 'working'. In order to find out what the challenge was, I decided to become one of my students. I took a university level, year one Spanish course and was set to go to Mexico to become one of my students. I lived in home-stays, studied Spanish 4 hours a day (albeit not academic) and lived through the language acquisition challenges that were sharply punctuated by two bouts of culture shock.

In the first two weeks I was in the mountains, surrounded by an international group who were dedicated to learning the culture and language. Great fun as we struggled our way through dinners. The first encounter with culture shock revolved around the lack of language ability- I was frustrated that my university level course had not prepared me for simple daily dealings; the other was the change of lifestyle in terms of expectations of having the same water/sewer systems that I took for granted at home. Minor problems, but I understood far better how a new language learner in a foreign culture can suffer the feeling of utter ineptness- even though in their own country they are capable of much, and how a disruption in eating and sleeping patterns can lead to tiredness, grumpiness and frustration. How can one focus on learning when struck with a smashed ego and disfunctional body? During the second two weeks I was on the beach (looking forward to an even better time of it) where the entire group except one was from Germany. This posed another culture shock situation.

As learning a new language- at any level- is exhausting, during the breaks, I was isolated from the group as they reverted to their first language of German. I was exhausted too and craved to have a real discussion about the world, news, movies- anything that I could actually produce a paragraph about without faltering. But at school I was alone. Compounding this was that my homestay was really not interactive with the 2 people upstairs. I lived downstairs in my own 'hall' with my room at the end, behind the locked door to the street. My hosts were upstairs behind a locked door on which I'd tap once in the morning for breakfast and once for dinner. Conversation, due to my lack of ability was very nerve wracking. Much of the last 2 weeks were spent alone with attempts to talk to the busy restaurant guy which of course were not real conversations. To top it all off, I had purposely taken myself away from home during Christmas time to try to get a feel for what my students go through when they miss important family gatherings. In addition to missing the festive part of life, during my time away a colleague passed away and I was so far from home. So, by the end of the four weeks, my Spanish had not improved, my sense of aloneness was gigantic, and my empathy for my students enormous. Living this was nothing I could get from a book or chat.

What I learned from this experience that I brought back to my curricular efforts and classroom behavior:

  1. Students need to have a vested interest in what they learn. Previously students had come to learn English. Now they were coming to learn academic English. I couldn't justify the 'how to date in Canada' topics or other text ideas before I checked with them. I began to do a needs assessment.
  2. Students come with life experience, lived experience. When one of my teachers in Mexico got angry because I could conjugate the verb but didn't know what it meant (ironically entendar means to learn!), he threw me a piece of paper and told me to write it out 5 times. I wasn't so angry at this, because what it revealed to me was that he hadn't asked me what the problem was- for me it was that none of the exercises led to any application of the language. Now I talk to my students about Bloom's Taxonomy and explain to them (more frequently I ask them to explain to me) why I would ask them to do a certain task. I've noticed more higher level thinking. Of course they were capable of this before, but I hadn't necessarily been demanding it.
  3. Because my students are not empty vessels, and they come with a variety of learning and life experiences, the topics and tasks I choose are 'real' in the sense that they either mimic the language or behavior that will be necessary in the academic classes. Granted, some things have to be memorized, but only if they are applied somehow. I've noticed much better retention and fluency.
  4. The white piece of paper with the list of things to cover- the course outline, the curriculm used to pose a constriction for me. So much to cover in so little time....In the mountains, we sat in a freezing cold class where the teacher had gloves on when she wrote on the board. I asked if we could do a class in a restaurant, over coffee (partly to use the language). Adamantly the answer was no. I didn't understand why there was no allowance for a shift. While I cannot hold classes in restaurants or swimming pools, I can and do interrupt my 'curriculum' to get feedback from students. What have you learned that is useful? What do you still need to know? How would you plan the next class in order to reach the goal of educating everyone in the room? Flexibility has interrupted the list on the course outline.

I think that these 4 major learnings amount to a couple of things that are directly related to professional development.

  1. Experiential learning is an extremely valuable way to develop. I had read about culture shock for years but nothing was like living it. As much as I can, I ask students to experience the topics/tasks that I expect them to learn.
  2. Task based learning and experiential learning I think work together to promote reflective practice and transformative learning. But neither of these will be as rich, if the educator doesn't choose what he/she wants to work on and have a strong understanding of why.
  3. Every offering by a conference or PD participant is a sharing of what is important to them, and an idea for the recipients to ponder, evaluate and use as he/she wishes. I think every offering is a useful experience, even if it is to realize that the timing is relevent/not, the topic is doable/not (what topics do I choose that may not be doable??) or the task is doable/not (materials, size of class etc.). I have gained from all PD activities- hands on, lecture and my own reading, but the ultimate measurement is whether I have been able to provide my students with a relevant learning experience.
  4. The reiteration of participating in PD is sometimes necessary for me to 'get it' in another way.
  5. Flexibility with curriculum - employing a 'living curriculum' can take much pressure off the teacher and encourage student autonomy and buy in. The most gratifying part of this is that I continue to learn in tandem with the students which I feel is a great demonstration of respect for who they are and what they offer to the community of learning.

These changes have come in increments over the last couple of years and continue to be tweaked. I think the greatest reward that PD offers is the chance to risk to learn and the more uncomfortable part of that is the shift in practice.

I applaud those who offer PD- it aint easy standing up in front of your peers and saying, 'hey guess what- I learned this/tried this and it worked and I think it's important enough to share'.

emma

Emma Bourassa
English as a Second or Additional Language/ Teaching English as a Second Language Instructor
ESAL Department Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, B.C.


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1714] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 14
From: Kim Bellerive
Date: Mon Nov 12 12:22:01 EST 2007

"So, my question is, how do we as professional developers get these teachers to want to consider a change? While ideally intrinsic interest is the best way to learn and grow and change, are there some extrinsic things we can do as professional developers to stimulate a need and interest?"

I face the same challenges, Kathy. Sometimes food can lure people in. The promise of being fed holds a surprising amount of weight with many of the teachers I work with. Then there are the others and I too wonder, how do I motivate them?

Sincerely,

Kim Bellerive

Assistant Director

Adult Literacy and ESOL Program

Greater Homewood Community Corporation

Baltimore, MD

STRENGTHENING NEIGHBORHOODS IN NORTH CENTRAL BALTIMORE
www.greaterhomewood.org


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1715] Re: PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: Molly Elkins
Date: Mon Nov 12 12:22:22 EST 2007

Quoting David J. Rosen:

"As a professional developer, this implies that participants need to have control of the learning activities, to tailor them to their own needs, their own goals and levels of knowledge and experience. They also need to be able to explore their own questions, and to connect what they are learning with what they are doing in their classrooms. This cannot be done in one workshop. It requires opportunities to learn, try out, synthesize, and share with colleagues. This in-depth professional development, the kind that significantly improves practice, takes time."

I want to respond to this statement in complete agreement.

I worked for some time as a teacher in a traditional, public middle school. During the 4 years that I worked there, I went to plenty of workshops and shared many ideas with my colleagues. What I found is what worked perfectly for one teacher, needed adjustments to work perfectly for me. Over time, I learned to look at the suggestions offered in various PD workshops and meetings, and think, "How can I make this work in my classroom?"

As David said, this takes time. It takes experimentation and creative thinking.

The hard part about PD is that we all want something that we can take and apply immediately- however, there are few techniques or strategies that will work in 100% of our varied situations. I have found that some of the most valuable time spent in PD workshops and meetings, is the time I spend talking to other educators about their adaptations of a technique or strategy. These conversations have helped me in 3 ways:

  1. I have the opportunity to think about how what we are learning can apply to my situation.
  2. I have the chance to get other ideas from educators that I might not have heard from- enabling me to think of still more creative ways to use what we are learning in the PD seminar.
  3. If we are talking about a strategy or technique that I am already familiar with (as frequently happens in PD seminars), I have the time to think about it in a new or creative way, and bounce ideas off other professionals.

Molly Elkins

Literacy Specialist

Douglas County Libraries

Phillip S. Miller Library

Castle Rock CO

Web: www.DouglasCountyLibraries.org


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1716] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 14
From: Kathryn Quinn
Date: Mon Nov 12 12:35:23 EST 2007

I think follow-up--in addition to being paid and fed--makes a difference. Having teachers report or demonstrate a way they've actually utilized something they learned from professional development can help. Especially if they know they're going to be asked to do it before the PD begins. They may even be asked to make a commitment before they leave the PD and begin their planning then. If the PD is divided into two parts, the first for the presentation and the second a month or so later for reporting, demonstration, follow-up, sharing, the participants can be more inclined to try it out. If the PD leaders let them drop the ball, no questions asked, it becomes too easy to do. I know this to be true from both sides.

Kathryn Quinn
Frederick, Maryland


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1718] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest , Vol 26, Issue 14
From: Sandman-Hurley
Date: Mon Nov 12 12:49:00 EST 2007

In addition to providing food, one technique that I have found that works well when trying to motivate practitioners to become more interested in PD is to put them through simulations. Let them experience low literacy and then relate the simulation to the technique you are trying to teach. Also, keeping the PD very interactive, not only within the class discussion but it has to be a multimedia presentation (this does not mean PowerPoint) with information coming from many different areas. I have found this not only lends credibility to the topic at hand, but it is far more interesting. As we know multiple contexts is the best way to teach learners, so why not practitioners? Also, if practitioners know the presentation is going to very well prepared it might be more appealing.

Kelli Sandman-Hurley, M.S.

Literacy Tutor/Learner Coordinator

READ/San Diego


Subject: [Professional Development 1716] Re: Professional Development Digest, Viol 26, Issue 14
From: Donna Chambers
Date: Mon Nov 12 13:39:12 EST 2007

Hi All,

This is an interesting conversation and although I agree with everything that has been said so far, I would like to suggest an even stronger reason to participate in professional development activities and why our jobs should depend on it. I hate to use the "m" word, but shouldn't pd be a requirement that is mandated by all programs?

Funding for AE is often based on outcomes and the learners in our classes often have high stakes motivation for coming to class. They want/need to learn to read/speak/write English, get a high school credential for economic reason such as get a better job, keep a job, further their education; enter a training program, etc.

The world has become more complicated and our responsibility as Adult Educators is to assist the learners in acquiring the tools necessary to make sense out of it. What is essential basic knowledge today has changed from what it was five or ten years ago and whether we like it or not, the bar has been raised out of necessity. Adults now entering our programs often have college, or some post secondary, in mind. This means that what we,as professionals, need to know and be able to do to get them there is more complicated. Since we don't have more time or more money, we need to figure out how to work smarter with what we have.

As professionals, how will we do this? In my work in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, I have found it not just necessary, but extremely rewarding to improve my skills by attending pd workshops, reading books and articles on the latest research findings and proven methods in the field, and trying to keep up with several LISTSERV discussions such as this one. Because I love what I do, I am very willing to share ideas with others as well as receive ideas from others. I don't see how anyone could not be interested in learning. Isn't lifelong learning what our profession is all about? I believe it is difficult to survive and move forward with the needed changes in our practice without sharing, talking and learning from each other. I will even go out on a limb to say that, with the changes and the increased demands of our profession, we have a responsibility to learn how to do the best job we can for the learners in our program. They are investing precious time and, in order to respect this, we must make sure we are providing the highest quality service available today. After all, change is inevitable and we must all learn from each other to keep up with this change.

Donna Chambers

tcqmom at comcast.net wrote:

I think follow-up--in addition to being paid and fed--makes a difference. Having teachers report or demonstrate a way they've actually utilized something they learned from professional development can help. Especially if they know they're going to be asked to do it before the PD begins. They may even be asked to make a commitment before they leave the PD and begin their planning then. If the PD is divided into two parts, the first for the presentation and the second a month or so later for reporting, demonstration, follow-up, sharing, the participants can be more inclined to try it out. If the PD leaders let them drop the ball, no questions asked, it becomes too easy to do. I know this to be true from both sides.


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1720] Re: [FLAG] ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 15
From: Cindy Fischer
Date: Mon Nov 12 13:40:37 EST 2007

Hello:

As the professional developer, if you will, it is my responsibility to provide excellent learning experiences for our instructors. We all know that PD is just another "meeting" and easily forgotten if no change is made. What I've started doing is asking instructors to make a change and then "reflect" on that change over the semester. They have some guiding questions: What did you change? Why did you change it? "What was the experience like? How did the students react? How did the students feel? I also ask the instructors to collect their own feedback from the students. Then we will have have a one-on-one meeting, or even a group meeting, if the instructors like to discuss what went great and what didn't go so great. Since this is the first semester I've implemented this, I haven't any feedback to share, but I will. One thing I have been stressing with instructors is that our students become reflective learners. Most have to be taught that. When they become reflective learners, they begin to see connections and possibilities.

On another note, I actually attended a workshop that changed me! I attended Barbara Given's Teaching to the Brain's Natural Learning System in Williamsburg in October. It caused me to rethink my winter professional development and totally revamp it. It caused me to work more closely with our instructors on reflection--not only the students, but the instructor's. Barbara's workshop was multi-sensory and made so much sense. I wish every workshop I attended could be so helpful. I actually had something to take back to my program and use.

Cindy
"If you believe in good things, you can make them happen."


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1721] Re: PD Experiences that Change Practice
From: Rebecca Sherry
Date: Mon Nov 12 17:02:11 EST 2007

Hi,

I have worked in adult ESL and ABE for about 10 years as both a part-time and a full-time staffer. I would like to respond to the discussion of what contributes to a meaningful, quality professional development experience from my own experience as a part-time instructor (my current position). I see the following components as crucial, and I've tried to add a part-time perspective to each.

  1. Pay - This may sound petty, but it's not. If I have to divide my already low per hour wage by the mandatory unpaid admin work, the unpaid prep time, and then mandatory unpaid professional development time, I'm coming out around minimum wage. And professional development, even if it has no registration fee, is still not free to a part-timer. Almost for sure, I will have either child care or transportation costs associated with my attendance.
  2. Sharing with other teachers - Other posts have mentioned this, and I see it as important in two ways. The first is to help avoid the perennial "reinvent the wheel." The second is that I feel it goes a long way towards treating part-time teachers as professional, contributing members of the department. So often, I feel like part-time professional development takes an almost remedial tone. But I know that my colleagues are doing creative, exciting things in their classrooms, and I would love to learn about it.
  3. Follow-up - Again, mentioned earlier, but almost a novel idea. We don't expect our students to learn new skills without feedback on their performance. Why do we expect it of our teachers? I personally have only had one professional development experience that included follow-up mechanisms. And that was the only professional development workshop that has significantly changed my philosophy and my teaching practice (it was about student voice and student leadership in the classroom).
  4. Agendas & needs - Some people have asked how to get buy-in from reluctant teachers. Have you asked them what they want to learn? I know it is tempting as an administrator to "know" what your teachers need. And you may have a very valid point. But so often as I sit in our semester in-service, I feel like what is called "professional development" is really more like an indoctrination. The state requires X, the program requires Y, and good teachers do Z. Great, but what I really wish is that the program, which needs to accomplish both X and Y, would have a genuine conversation with the teachers about how we as a group can best meet those requirements AND provide the best possible learning experience to students. As a whole, part-timers may not have the credentials of full-timers, but we have an awful lot of practical experience and we are often the ones who have to buy in and carry out the activities needed to really get the program to X and Y. This is, again, a question of treating part-time teachers as professionals.
  5. Watered-down versions of a good PD experience - Programs I have worked in have, rightly or wrongly, decided that the program gets greater return for spending substantial professional development money on full-time staff as opposed to part-time staff. The argument is that full-time staff stay with the program while part-timers often quit (one can argue that is because they don't feel that the department is investing in them as teachers). The professional development result is that full-time staff will see an amazing conference presentation which they then are supposed to disseminate to their part-timers in a one-hour summary. But the value of that second-hand presentation is very dependent on the second presenter's understanding of the key ideas and ability to give a dynamic training summary. If administrators want to use this method of professional development, then I really feel like they need to be sure that the full-timers do have the training skills necessary to do this. If not, it is likely that part-time teachers will not be excited enough about the new method or even fully understand how or why to implement it. And I think it would be wonderful if programs could seriously look at more equitable ways to share conference-level professional development opportunities between both full- and part-time staff.

Sorry for the long comments, but I hope this is useful.

Rebecca Sherry

ESL Instructor/Program Coordinator

Women's Intercultural Center

Anthony, NM


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1722] PD Experiences that Change
From: Crystal Anika
Date: Mon Nov 12 18:10:45 EST 2007

As I read through the posts, I was reminded that when teachers can see success through the change it is helpful. So, the suggestion that teachers actually have a follow-up session to show how they used the PD makes them not only accountable, but may also show them that it is a useful change to make.

Crystal Cuby Richardson

Georgia State University


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1723] Re: PD Experiences that Change
From: tjdclaire
Date: Mon Nov 12 22:44:05 EST 2007

One of the best professional development experiences that I have had was the most recent and combined everything that has been pointed out as a plus. The workshop or series of workshops was for Teachers Investigating Adult Numeracy (TIAN). Not only did the program I work for pay for hours I missed from the classroom but there was a small stipend as well. (I should note that there were hours included in which I would not have been in the classroom, and I was not paid for that time.) There was food included (continental breakfast). (This was a minor incentive.) There were free resources to go back and use with our classes (always a BIG plus). There was a report in which we had to reflect on our experiences and provide samples of student work (after obtaining student permission.) I have to admit that I did not enjoy doing this.but I did enjoy hearing what others had written. There was sharing with other teachers from around the state.another plus. The best thing that I have brought forward is the habit of asking myself, "What does the student know how to do?", "What does the student not know how to do?", and "What question can I ask that will lead to the student thinking about his/her error without immediately letting on that it was an error or just giving the answer or my own explanation?" Of course, this is math and these questions won't always work the same way with other topics.

To shift perspectives a little, I would like to say that I agree that lifelong learning is what we should be about. I decided about five years ago that I wanted to learn Italian (actually I have wanted to learn it for much longer, but five years ago I started taking steps to do it.) I have been taking classes at the community college almost ever since. These are the typical twice a week offering, for an hour and a half each class. One of my ABE/GED classes happens to be held on the same campus, also twice weekly, but for three hours at a time.

Here is the point. My students frequently ask, "How long will it take me to get my GED?" When they ask, I tell them that it depends on what they know now and how hard they are prepared to work. I explain about my Italian class and about how long I have been studying. I also tell them that if I only went to class and did the prescribed homework I would still be a beginner. What I do is listen to Italian music in my car and at home. I've gone to Italy twice for two weeks at a time (although most people you meet there speak English better than I speak Italian. The trips weren't necessarily instructive in themselves but were certainly motivation to learn as much as possible.) In addition, while I was there I purchased books in Italian (paperbacks in subjects that I like to read in English). I read every night before I go to sleep. I have taken an additional class in Italian film each semester that it has been offered. I'm still not proficient in speaking, and I still cannot understand someone speaking at a "normal" pace, but I can see progress. I tell them that if you really want to learn something, you have to work at it more than twice a week.I then give some tips to keep this work at a minimum but still expose them to what they want to learn several times daily.

I would like to ask my students, "So how long do you think it will take to get your GED?", but I don't. Unfortunately, I think the motivation of many of my students is approximately equal to that of teachers who like to use the same old handouts every time and see PD as just something more to do. I think the feeling of my students about doing work at home is approximately equal to my enjoyment of preparing a report for the TIAN workshop. I don't believe food is much of an incentive to most (indeed, I have an activity with M&M's that I allow them to eat when the activity is done.each person gets his/her own new, unopened bag.and people often don't eat them.) Pay? They're lucky we aren't asking them for money (although that day is looming on the horizon.) I'm afraid my lecture about only coming to class twice a week may drive some students away.

I love learning, but that is something that I have generally been successful at, unlike many of my students. To many people, I'm a little weird that way. I love sharing. I don't relish doing reports and working beyond my normal hours (Aha! I'm not weird.). So I can understand why students/teachers, in spite of all the motivating influences: get a job, a better job, go on for further education/training, get paid, get fed, etc., don't always want to do the up front work to learn.

What can be done? Appeal to their vanity, perhaps. Let them know/think that their contributions are invaluable and proceed to treat them that way. Pay them more for this consulting work than they make teaching if you really want to see a change in attitude. Provide lots of time for networking; one of the biggest complaints we get regarding inservices is that there was not enough time to share. Offering choices is important.

In the days when people went to national conferences (I hope those days aren't completely gone), I had lots of chances to share. I felt a little important because going to the conference (paid back by the program or on a scholarship) was a privilege. Going wasn't just for the conference sessions but for the preconference sessions as well, where I got to pick out something I really wanted to know more about. I went to Mount St. Helens as a part of a COABE preconference and brought back knowledge, pictures, and some materials that I purchased there that I have used a number of times with my students. It was something I could get excited about. It had some of the same elements that summer camp had.away from home, with people that you had something in common with, on a bus trip...That same excitement is pretty hard to duplicate in a learning circle.

Enough for now.

Claire Ludovico


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1724] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 16
From: Wendy Quinones
Date: Tue Nov 13 10:13:25 EST 2007

I think Kathryn is right on with the follow-up issue -- doesn't the research say that PD doesn't tend to produce much change unless there is follow-up? I'm trying out a hybrid model with a couple of offerings in Massachusetts early in the year: a 4 hour face-to-face workshop followed by 4 weeks of online discussion and support, with the idea that participants will develop or modify lesson plan(s) in light of what they learned, and a 2-hour final gathering to reflect on what they did and learned. We'll see how it works -- but I'm feeling less and less inclined to do just the one-shot face-to-face workshop if I can possibly convince the funders to let me do more.

Wendy Quinones

Gloucester, MA

tcqmom at comcast.net wrote:

I think follow-up--in addition to being paid and fed--makes a difference. Having teachers report or demonstrate a way they've actually utilized something they learned from professional development can help. Especially if they know they're going to be asked to do it before the PD begins. They may even be asked to make a commitment before they leave the PD and begin their planning then. If the PD is divided into two parts, the first for the presentation and the second a month or so later for reporting, demonstration, follow-up, sharing, the participants can be more inclined to try it out. If the PD leaders let them drop the ball, no questions asked, it becomes too easy to do. I know this to be true from both sides.

Kathryn Quinn
Frederick, Maryland


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1725] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 17
From: Carver, Mary-Lynn
Date: Tue Nov 13 13:20:13 EST 2007

This has been a terrific discussion so far, but I want to specifically thank Rebecca Sherry for her comments. As a former adjunct who has just recently attained full-time status and soon to be department chair, her comments are going in my "to be aware of" file to keep in mind when I have to help plan PD for our dept. adjuncts.

Thanks for taking the time to put the comments together in such a clear, helpful way. Looking forward to the rest of the discussion.

Thanks,

Mary Lynn Carver

ABE/GED Instructor

College of Lake County

Grayslake, IL

"The great aim of education is not knowledge but action" -- Herbert Spencer

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." --Plutarch


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1726] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 18
From: maureen hoyt
Date: Tue Nov 13 14:09:21 EST 2007

One professional development experience which was very successful was a conference session in which I introduced the aall website and had guided browsing. The teachers were able to spend time looking into their areas of interest and to share their ideas. The participants all said that they would use these links in the future, which is one of the main objectives of any professional development! The tour is still up on the aall site if you'd like to check it out.
www.az-aall.org

Maureen Hoyt

Basic Education Manager

ACYR
www.azcallateen.k12.az.us
www.az-aall.org

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1727] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 18
From: Wilson, Beverly
Date: Tue Nov 13 15:27:29 EST 2007

The discussion generated by this topic has been fascinating. I think the postings are especially valuable because they reflect the complexity and personal commitment that each educator needs to make in order to advance their own learning and growth so their students are successful. Just as schools need to change to be more responsive to the needs of students, the professional development systems need to change to better meet the needs to educators. The days of attending conferences to reward teachers or used as an incentive for a select few are gone (or should be). Requiring teachers to attend 2-5 professional development workshops each year with a smorgasbord of activities without a clear objective or purpose should also be examined.

The sole purpose of professional development is to improve student learning and outcomes. Therefore, professional development planning should begin with analyzing multiple data sets, including student testing and demographic data, teacher demographics and educational experience, program/organizational processes, etc. The planning for professional development should be a program/organizational focus. After the program/school staff analyzes the data, the staff can select the appropriate goals that will improve student achievement and outcomes. Then the staff can design the professional development plan for the organization and the staff to meet the goals. Individual professional development plans would then align to the student and organizational goal(s). Whether you are a K-12 teacher, community college or university instructor, or an adult educator, the process of planning for professional development should be the same process.

The research on teacher change that Dr. Christine Smith and J. Hofer (2003) conducted has important implications for the field of adult education. Their findings also support the work of Lindstrom and Speck (2004) that focused on the professional development process and the impact and use of different types of PD. Conferences and the one-time and series of workshops had the least impact on teacher change-less than 10%, whereas teacher observation and practice, feedback and coaching, action research and cycle of inquiry, and job embedded activities have a much greater impact on teacher change-85-90%. If we are relying solely on conferences and workshops to roll out new practices without the follow-up activities and integrated processes necessary for teachers to change, then we are being unrealistic. We don't expect our students to increase their knowledge and skills without on-going practice and support, so why should we expect this from teachers?

In the adult education field, our challenge is to design a professional development system that engages and supports teachers who may work part-time as adult educators, and may also hold another full-time job that may or may not be in the education profession. In my opinion, one of the primary components of building a foundation for professional development is to create professional development standards. These standards could serve as the framework of what we need to know and be able to do to improve student learning. These standards would need to provide enough flexibility to ensure that each adult educator and organization could plan professional development to support their student learning needs. However, the standards should include the framework for the types of professional development needed to facilitate teacher change.

Beverly Wilson, M.Ed.
Professional Learning Manager
Arizona Department of Education
Adult Education Services

"A teacher affects eternity, s/he can never tell where their influence stops." (Henry B. Adams)


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1729] Re: PD Experiences that Change
From: Robin Lovrien Schwarz
Date: Wed Nov 14 09:54:55 EST 2007

Claire-- this is a very interesting posting. It made me think of several things, (not directly connected to the PD discussion perse, but leading up to it!) but what most connected were your comments about your students and when you had made your points about what active learning is, decided NOT to ask your students how long THEY think getting their GED will take. What I thought of were David Rosen's comments on how really good PD allows for particpants/learners to make their own decisions about what they need and how they will go about obtaining that--or words to that effect.

I have seen that when GED learners are given information about different ways to learn, are honestly asked about what their goals are and then are taught how to do learning in little steps, how to set interim goals that include time estimates, and how to reflect on what worked and what did not for them in learning--just as you are doing with your Italian-- their engagement and progress are astounding. What many of your learners lack is just exactly the myriad skills you reveal in your explanation of your approach to learning Italian. Obviously, if those learners had those skills, they would not be asking you that unanswerable question.

What this also made me think of was a person involved in running a tiny church-based GED program in a very poor neighborhood of a large Texas city. I was doing an investigation/evaluation to try to figure out why this--and several other--GED programs were getting such poor results--almost no one completing their GED's--this one was particularly puzzling, as the staff was terrific and warm and the center offered child care for children of all ages and had many other features that should have had people lining up at the door. But after a couple of visits and many interviews, this person told a story about a lady who walked miles to get her child after school because she didn't want the child on the bus, and then the lady walked to the center and completed her studies and got her GED. The person went on to say that THIS was the kind of student the center wanted-- other people came and dropped out because they were "not goal oriented", he told me. It was one of those "aha" moments in qualitative research. The program, then, had a self-fulfilling mission of failure-- help only the goal-oriented-- and sure enough only the goal-oriented finished. But since the HUGE majority of GED learners are NOT goal oriented because they don't know how that works, the majority in this, and the other programs I looked at, did not stay--they were not being taught HOW to be learners, merely given the books and taught how to do fractions or write a paragraph.

I heard this attitude again at a community college in New Mexico, where one of the people involved in a support tutoring program for at-risk older teens said that some of the students didn't really care about learning and were not motivated. Yet those students showed up everyday hoping something would happen.

We all know of people who chose to get their GED for whatever reason and just got the books, studied and did it. I have a friend here in Maine whose son did just that when he transferred to a high school he did not like. These are NOT the people who our programs most need to serve.

This is where REAL PD comes in-- people who work with learners who have never been taught the power of self-directed learning--how to do it effectively and authentically-- need to learn through good PD to be able to communicate to such learners positive views of their being able to learn how to be learners. I always tell my training groups that learners, like children, always live up or down to the expectations of their teachers--just as the learners at that center in Texas do--they drop out because from the first, the expectation is that they will.

I find that the biggest challenge by far that I face as a PD provider is getting teachers out of the "cook book"mode-- "give me some strategies"--and into the mindset of learning how to be teachers who can set about figuring out what each learner needs to be able to become independent learners. Another of those many things I say to those in training is that adult education was given a stocking full of coal lumps by K-12. The whole approach to learning in adult education, it seems to me, has been adopted wholesale from the teacher-centered, lesson-plan culture of K-12--and it is the antithesis of what adult learners need to thrive. When I try to get teachers to think about methods such as learning centers or individual learning plans or folders, both methods where learners make their own decisions about what they want to learn and how, the first response is always, "You mean I will have to do 15 different lesson plans??" I had one teacher in a PD session rise up in annoyance and tell me she could NEVER do this kind of teaching because it would mean students might TALK. (This was an ESOL training, too.....) As I say, the need to control the classroom to feel competent is pretty deeply ingrained.

But the bigger message here is that I can't stress enough the joy to be had in helping learners learn how to become independent learners who CAN reflect, plan set tiny goals in working towards larger, life goals, and really feel for the first time that they have control of their own destiny. I have seen it happen--and having seen it work with learners, have implemented that approach with my own trainees.

Robin Lovrien Schwarz


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1731] Re: PD Experiences that Change
From: Emma Bourassa
Date: Wed Nov 14 10:35:32 EST 2007

Absolutely Robin!

Perhaps a very valuable PD training session would be working with reflective practice, wherein teachers experience their own evaluation of their own ways of learning and teaching and reflect on what THAT kind of learning is. It is that kind of experiential learning that I think helps to move toward taking a risk to change teaching behavior so that the experience is richer for both students and teachers.
As part of this process, I think a few things would need to be taught, rather than assume that it is a given that teachers automatically can do this:

  1. journalling- rather than simply writing about what happened, it is useful to show students/teachers how to focus the journalling for specific inquiry. I found it extremely helpful to go into my research in Mexico having a daily focus question that I could then process and write about. It helped to gather in the specific experience and made evaluation of it much easier and rewarding.
  2. applying- it is paramount to take ONE idea and try it in the class- without doing this, then effective reflection can't occur. It can be something as simple as adding a visual to an explanation.
  3. feedback from the students- rather than ask 'how'd it go?' questioning students on their process of learning because of the change is valuable for the teacher to then be able to reflect at a deeper level.
  4. reflecting as opposed to considering- whereas considering, in my mind is taking a minute to say to myself- wow, that bombed, I'll never do that again, or even, hmm, need more time to explain that later, reflecting needs to get to the level of what learning was happening and WHY did it? Is it because after using the visual, twice as many people seemed to understand? If so, then maybe they are visual learners and I will invest the time to change my lessons to provide more visuals, because it will be easier for me to not have to retell everything over and over, and it will be more encouraging to the student when they have some success. We all benefit.

I think that our current students cannot be taught totally the way we were, or have been teaching. We need to consider that while we teach skills, we also need to teach students how to learn because chances are they will not have only one career in their lifetime, and chances are, it will be their ability to understand their needs and knowledge and articulate them that will help them beyond the classroom.

I'd be interested to know if anyone has been involved in reflective practice pro-d.

emma

Emma Bourassa

English as a Second or Additional Language/ Teaching English as a Second Language Instructor

ESAL Department

Thompson Rivers University

Kamloops, B.C.


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1730] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 16
From: Robin Lovrien Schwarz
Date: Wed Nov 14 10:26:52 EST 2007

Follow-up-- YES!! When I am asked to do PD now, I insist on a plan that includes extended follow up. Someone mentioned how helpful it had been to be asked to reflect on the process and be able to report on what had happened or not.

Just last month, I had the joy of holding a training in NY state that included teachers who have been working with me for a year as well as some brand new participants to the PD project we are doing there. The "veterans" --who had a day of training a year ago, two site visits and another follow-up group meeting where they could reflect on what had happened and plan what they wanted for this year-- were the stars of the training. On the second day, they each gave a presentation on what they have been doing-- all brought in a table's worth of materials for us all to examine, and each had quite a different approach to the idea of independent student learning that incorporated LOTS of multisensory learning. This group has had ample time to plan, try out, reflect on, change, ask questions about whatever new practice each of them chose. Two of these teachers have been quite outspoken about how they had been on the verge of quitting adult ESOL teaching altogether because they felt so incompetent and had so little response from students. Both are now deeply engaged in working with their learners to help learners set their own goals, find ways to meet those goals, find ways to measure their own goals etc, and? both are deeply committed to what they do-- one despite quite negative feedback from her supervisor, who does not like it that this teacher has changed so dramatically from a teacher-centered approach.

It was exhilarating just to be in the room with these teachers as they enthusiastically described and showed their work--and to see the new teachers being just blown away by the enthusiasm.

Teachers who participate in these projects ( I have two going in NY state now) are given lots of information on what causes ESOL learners to struggle and ways in which those issues could be addressed, and then are asked to identify SOME way in which they would like to address these issues. I make no demands as to type of project or topic-- teachers propose and I coach. Teachers are provided with lots of feedback and coaching through site visits, website involvement and group get-togethers such as the one we just had. Teachers are told at the beginning that the purpose of the PD project is to get better learner outcomes by asking teachers to do SOMETHING to change their practice in ways that will result in learners thriving.

It took MANY years of doing far more traditional trainings--usually half a day to two full days, before I and those who hired me realized that while participants enjoyed the trainings and were excited about what they were learning, almost no change resulted from these trainings. As the lady who hired me in NY state said, "I have been giving parties for 17 years[i.e. well-liked trainings & workshops], I am tired of giving parties where nothing results, nothing changes."

I have changed my own practice quite drastically in the last two years as I have tried out these far more unconventional and looser approaches to PD.

One other thought and then I must run to an airplane: One of my doctoral colleagues at Lesley University,who did many years of pedagogical training for K-12 teachers,? did her dissertation on what adult learners ( i. e. teachers) actually take away from PD. She found that three things influence that: First, what the teacher's immediate teaching environment requires-- what does the school require the teacher to be doing that can be helped by the PD session? Second was the teacher's stage of teaching--veteran teachers are looking for different things than novice teachers, who are often just looking for survival help; and third was the teacher's own development as and thinking about being a professional. In other words, one's own philosophy about teaching and learning is a powerful influence on what one relates to in training. These findings began to influence me very deeply as I made some serious missteps in the beginning stages of the first NY project. As I went back and thought about these factors, I changed how information was presented, but mostly changed what I expected teachers to do with it. Now, as I mentioned above, by honoring what their background, preparation and current teaching situations dictate that they need and want and by honoring the principles of adult learning-- relevance, self-direction, involvement in meaningful ways-- I design the PD so that teachers can choose what to target and how--and can do all the self-directed learning they want. This is working terrifically well!

I have been guided tremendously in my work by the writing of Jane Vella (Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults)--this book lives on my bedside table and goes with me when I travel!!

Cheers to all-- am LOVING this discussion--I hope I am not hogging the airwaves.
Robin Lovrien Schwarz


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1739] Week One Professiobnal Standards discussion
From: Margaret van Duyne
Date: Fri Nov 16 15:44:12 EST 2007

Hello- leaders and participants. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss professional development.

You have asked about our experience with professional development. As the founder and leader of an educational community based organization in the metropolitan Boston area establishing two adult education programs I had the opportunity to read standards in the field, research with employers, take seminars on language, education and business and espouse a philosophy of education with colleagues and new hires. Throughout our years of direct service the staff and I ongoingly clarified that philosophy with an ongoing articulation of our practices in the educational and training experiences with multicultural adults. In other words, professional development has been the means by which we became more effective in our teaching, mentoring and coaching. The outcomes verified the value of professional development over the years: high rates of employment by the learners who entered the program at an intermediate ESOL level. They participated in an integrated ESOL, basic skills, computer skills 7/8 or 9 months program with daily job search for 3 months or until hired- 100% of 14 cohorts were hired in training-related entry level office jobs.

What is professional development? The staff members of an organization, division or department engaged in adult/young adult education "build" a learning organization for continuously developing a mission of learning while teaching, mentoring and coaching. The members of the learning organization commit to daily, weekly and monthly personal and group reflection and to practicing a personal and team 'learning discipline.' Together through readings, DVD's, guest speakers, journaling and discussions, instructors create distinctions about teaching, mentoring and coaching. These distinctions broaden their perspectives and suggest new ways to shape their behavior and actions in training/classroom and experiential learning sessions. With these distinctions they cultivate and share best practices.

An example of a distinction is "What is an instructor's responsibility for the learner's mastery of skills?" Responsibility for success with learning skills can be broadened to incorporate assisting with life issues/crises/hardships that might obstruct completion of lessons and mastery of skills. How then will this be implemented, tested and developed into a best practice?

The staff members also seek out resources outside their learning organization to evaluate their current practices, challenge their systems thinking and introduce improvements in their program and practices for successfully educating learners.

What are the quality standards for professional development? The staff members of a learning organization design and implement their pd program (prep a book for new hires.)

Employee Orientation

Program mission, statement of philosophy and standards for practices.

  1. Job descriptions and teacher assessment system.
  2. Probationary standards for teaching and performance measures.
  3. Day long workshops identifying staff relationships and responsibilities, the learning organization's requirements, the training program's schedule, the program's system of recruitment, assessments and accountability.

Learning organization practices. The members of the learning organization review their philosophy when new hires receive an orientation and ask questions about the program. The senior staff set up a system of mentoring new hires who are on probation. The staff members meet weekly to review their discipline and their practices. When an instructor considers a relationship with a learner perplexing and/or difficult, s/he counts on immediate coaching from senior and veteran instructors to repair it and recommit to the learner..

All the continually examines professional standards in the city, state, nation, international field (SCANS, EFF) among employers/grantors. The members of the learning organization explore whether their practices, lessons and program meet these standards. The staff members evaluate the programs against these standards annually. They review and when needed, revise lessons to meet these standards.

Margaret van Duyne
Executive Director
One WITH One, Inc.


Professional Development Standards Questions

Questions Specific to the AALPD Draft Standards

The following questions were discussed in the PD Quality Standards Discussion:

  • How well does this draft measure up with what subscribers have indicated is quality professional development?
  • What is the value added in having PD standards?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • PD Providers: Are standards really going to help you provide better PD?
  • Practitioners: Are standards really going to help you identify quality PD?
    • What are the most important PD standards or indicators from your perspective?
    • What are the most important standards to advance PD in your area/state?
    • What PD Standards would be easy to implement?
    • What would be hard to implement?
    • Is there anything missing?
    • Is there anything that isn't clear?
    • What would need to be in place in order to make these standards possible?
    • Should all standards apply to all activities?
    • Are the proposed standards (below) too general? Which ones? All of them?
    • Are they too specific, too prescriptive? Which ones?
    • The question of whether or not to have professional development standards is still open. Are there good reasons not to have them? Are there good reasons to have them?
    • Do you think some or all of the proposed standards would advance the field, help to improve teaching and learning? If so, which standards would advance the field?
    • Does this document work for us in adult education professional development?

General Questions About Professional Development Standards

  • How are standards used in various states to select the professional development that's provided? In order to be considered quality, must the PD offering meet all standards, for example?
  • What must we do to validate and professionalize adult literacy and provide teachers of it comparable professional opportunities, including salary and benefits, time off for professional deevlopment, etc.?
  • To colleagues who are involved in planning statewide professional development: How do you see yourself using the adult education professional development standards to plan, implement and evaluate your professional development?
  • What is "universal design?"
  • And exactly which evidence-based teaching practices will we, as staff developers, be expected to pass on to teachers?
  • What is the difference between having PD Quality Standards versus guiding principles for professional development? If both are based in research, what may be the advantages of having one over the other?

Professional Development Quality Standards

Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1692] Quality standards for Professional Development
From: Claire Ludovico
Date: Tue Nov 6 17:36:43 EST 2007

Hello, everyone. I signed up for this discussion because I have an interest in my professional development. At the risk of alienating many of those with power over my position, I shall mention that this state has signed on to the National Staff Develpment Council's Standards. (If you don't know these, here is a link which describes them in brief: http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm)

Here, these have been interpreted to mean that essentially all professional development involves in-house collaborations (learning communities) which will investigate the research literature, discuss it in one's collaborative group, apply it in the classroom, and assess its effectiveness. Although this is touted as bottom-up professional development (and I can see its place as part of PD), the feel is entirely top down. In-state workshops and the state adult education conference are supposed to adhere to the same learning community format. We are not to attend national conferences (there is no funding for these). The NSDC standards themselves recommend "enabling educators to learn about leading-edge ideas and practices through attendance at state and national conferences.", although this appears to be only to learn more about an issue already being investigated in one of the learning communities.

Unfortunately, in addition, funding for instruction was drastically cut this year, necessitating a large cut in the number of classes available to students. A rather hefty portion of our funding is mandated to paid time for the collaborative groups...which time is subtracted from student contact time. The stated goal of this professional development is student improvement; therefore, it seems counterintuitive to me to fund it through a decrease in student contact time. Did I mention that every teacher is expected to be a member of one collaborative group or another? Perhaps someone felt that this kind of staff development was necessary because some of my fellow teachers never go to any kind of staff development that is not forced upon them. Another "reason" expressed is that some educators will go to a national conference and not use any of the ideas that were seen there in their classroom upon returning. Whether the current plan is a "fix" to either situation remains to be seen.

My personal feeling is that NSDC's standards, as interpreted by the powers that be, are not a good sole professional development model for adult education. The NSDC standards are obviously written for K-12 teachers and not for adult educators. Although the words "adult learners" appear, it is apparent that these refer to the teachers, not the students. While confining professional development to local groups has its benefits, similar problems, for example, it also limits input to problem solving to what those present know and what is in the literature. We do not have a large number of universities offering post baccalaureate degrees in adult education; therefore we do not have great volumes of research done on adult audiences from which to draw suggestions. Much of the research that has been done seems to have been by students in search of a Master's degree who have limited experience in an adult education classroom and whose ability to write is limited to the language of the research thesis rather than that of the informative article backed by valid statistics. We are often not set up in schools, school districts, etc. in the same way as K-12 teachers where other teachers are close at hand. We do not have the volumes of data on our students necessary for "data-driven" planning of staff development (some sources of data mentioned by the NSDC are: "standardized tests, district-made tests, student work samples, portfolios", "norm-referenced and criterionreferenced tests, grade retention, high school completion, reports of disciplinary actions, school vandalism costs, enrollment in advanced courses, performance tasks, and participation in post-secondary education"). Often we lack good data even for planning instruction; one set of intake assessments does not make one an expert on a student. Our students often are those who have discovered that one size does not fit all. They are, depending on how your class is structured, at diverse educational levels...unlike the members of a second grade class. Also, our students tend to be much more transitory than those in K-12 so assessing the effectiveness of anything becomes problematical.

Once again adult educators are the victims of fear. (I have to admit some trepidation in the posting of this contribution to the discussion.) No one wants to criticize the recommended implementation of the NSDC standards because we might be seen as "unprofessional" and risk having our funding cut (wait, didn't that happen anyway?) or our careers ended. However, until professional development standards are created for adult educators, dealing with adult students, we will continue to be the victims of every idea that comes down the pike whether it is in our best interests or not. I think the purpose of this forum should be what that PD should look like...and perhaps the NSDC standards could be a good jumping off point for the discussion.

Claire Ludovico


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1738] Re: Quality standards for Professional Development
From: Janet Isserlis
Date: Thu Nov 8 11:30:12 EST 2007

Claire and others

You raise important issues and questions in your post. I'd like to ask you and others to say a bit more about standards for PD in adult ed. While standards can definitely help guide a process, and give us some important ways to articulate what it is we believe that adult ed practitioners should know and be able to do, ultimately, these standards will only be useful or meaningful if they serve to help us continue our own ongoing learning and development. If they become mere competencies, things we demonstrate and tick off as having "done," we really gain nothing. If, on the other hand, they help us to remember what it is we believe to be important and necessary to good educational practice, then they can be useful to us over the long term.

How can we capitalize on ideas like mutual support and learning communities in combination with both local/our own knowledge as well as that of outside researchers and others whose work may inform ours? I would worry about legislating or too-tightly regulating PD standards, while also hoping that the development of those standards in and of itself could present useful opportunities for ongoing professional development through a thoughtful, probably long-term(ish) process.

Have others worked with the NSDC standards? Could you speak to that work here?
thanks

Janet Isserlis


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1748] Re: Considerations with PD standards
From: Robin Lovrien Schwarz
Date: Tue Nov 27 22:52:18 EST 2007

Jackie and the list-- my experience with standards is that it is hard to know in the abstract whether standards help or not. Sometimes standards are so general and loose that they hardly serve any purpose despite a lot of time and money spent on developing them. For example, in one of the states I work with there are adult ESOL learning standards: These read " Learners will improve ability to understand spoken English"; "Learners will write in English," etc. This is pure foolishness. What were such "standards" developed for? What English class would not have these as goals? Is it really necessary to codify basic outcomes such as these? Any increase in comprehension or any ability to write a word in English would satisfy such goals.

Conversely, standards can be too prescriptive, limiting creative approaches to a highly fluid, very human process. By their nature, standards would have to either be the consolidated ideas of some group assigned to write them, or a compromise between those wanting nothing and those wanting rules and guidelines, which could mean the standards cannot really meet the needs of those who will provide PD and those who will be recipients of it.

A comment I read some months ago on very highly prescriptive standards being developed for adult ESOL indicated that the purpose of the standards seemed to be mainly to provide a roadmap for teachers who have no idea how to direct the direction of a class. I wondered what well-trained veteran ESOL teachers would make of such standards. I would want a pretty clear picture of what purpose PD standards were intended to serve.

Robin Lovrien Schwarz

"Wilson, Beverly" wrote:

The discussion generated by this topic has been fascinating. I think the postings are especially valuable because they reflect the complexity and personal commitment that each educator needs to make in order to advance their own learning and growth so their students are successful. Just as schools need to change to be more responsive to the needs of students, the professional development systems need to change to better meet the needs to educators. The days of attending conferences to reward teachers or used as an incentive for a select few are gone (or should be). Requiring teachers to attend 2-5 professional development workshops each year with a smorgasbord of activities without a clear objective or purpose should also be examined.

The sole purpose of professional development is to improve student learning and outcomes. Therefore, professional development planning should begin with analyzing multiple data sets, including student testing and demographic data, teacher demographics and educational experience, program/organizational processes, etc. The planning for professional development should be a program/organizational focus. After the program/school staff analyzes the data, the staff can select the appropriate goals that will improve student achievement and outcomes. Then the staff can design the professional development plan for the organization and the staff to meet the goals. Individual professional development plans would then align to the student and organizational goal(s). Whether you are a K-12 teacher, community college or university instructor, or an adult educator, the process of planning for professional development should be the same process.

The research on teacher change that Dr. Christine Smith and J. Hofer (2003) conducted has important implications for the field of adult education. Their findings also support the work of Lindstrom and Speck (2004) that focused on the professional development process and the impact and use of different types of PD. Conferences and the one-time and series of workshops had the least impact on teacher change-less than 10%, whereas teacher observation and practice, feedback and coaching, action research and cycle of inquiry, and job embedded activities have a much greater impact on teacher change-85-90%. If we are relying solely on conferences and workshops to roll out new practices without the follow-up activities and integrated processes necessary for teachers to change, then we are being unrealistic. We don't expect our students to increase their knowledge and skills without on-going practice and support, so why should we expect this from teachers?

In the adult education field, our challenge is to design a professional development system that engages and supports teachers who may work part-time as adult educators, and may also hold another full-time job that may or may not be in the education profession. In my opinion, one of the primary components of building a foundation for professional development is to create professional development standards. These standards could serve as the framework of what we need to know and be able to do to improve student learning. These standards would need to provide enough flexibility to ensure that each adult educator and organization could plan professional development to support their student learning needs. However, the standards should include the framework for the types of professional development needed to facilitate teacher change.


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1750] Re: Discussion of Qualty Professional Development
From: Evelyn Beaulieu
Date: Wed Nov 28 09:11:45 EST 2007

Hello everyone,

A. What are the benefits and drawbacks of having quality professional development standards?

My perspective for the importance of adult education professional development standards comes from a statewide perspective. I see the benefits of standards from this perspective as the following:

  1. Standards provide a target to plan, implement and evaluate professional development in a systemic and meaningful way.
  2. The provide a common target to plan statewide professional development. One need I have experienced over and over when planning professional development was the need for a framework to offer and define quality professional development.
  3. The AALPD standards, Jackie provides a link for you all to review, offers us the target to provide quality professional development. In each state we do not have to reinvent the wheel to define quality professional development, we can proceed to plan, implement and evaluate the content for professional development to meet the needs of our state.

The drawback of adult education professional development standards is that it is a relatively new concept for our field and the need for learning what standards are, the importance of the standards, and the place to use standards is in the early stages. It certainly is a discussion I look forward to with my colleagues. I want to thank Jackie for providing us this opportunity to begin this conversation.

I would like to ask my colleagues who are involved in planning statewide professional development, how do you see yourself using the adult education professional development standards to plan, implement and evaluate your professional development?

B. Will standards help PD staff to provide -- or practitioners to identify -- quality professional development?

Here I would like to address Robin's question in an earlier posting of the need for professional development to help teachers meet the individual needs of students. One of the first steps in planning professional development using a standards framework is to review your data to identify the needs of your students and programs to best serve adult learners. Once professional development is implemented, then part of the professional development is to provide participants the tools they need to go back to their content areas to best serve their learners.

C. How well does the AALPD draft measure up with what subscribers have indicated is quality professional development?

I like the draft framework because it began with a national set of professional development standards, (NSDC) and the field has this great opportunity to provide input into the question, "Does this document work for us in adult education professional development?"

Yours in learning about standards in adult education, Evelyn

Evelyn Beaulieu, Director

Center for Adult Learning and Literacy

Orono, ME
http://www.umaine.edu/call/


Experiences With Professional Development Standards

Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1752] Experiences with PD Standards
From: Taylor, Jackie
Date: Wed Nov 28 20:33:13 EST 2007

PD List Colleagues:

As Evelyn noted earlier, the concept of having quality standards for professional development is relatively new to our field. Yet, there are some colleagues in particular states who have mentioned that they either have standards or guiding principles, or that they are currently developing them.

If you have experience with PD standards or guiding principles, will you please tell us more? For example, I'd like to hear more from colleagues in Arizona and their experiences with the National Staff Development Council Standards. How is this affecting your work in providing quality PD?

I'd also like to hear from colleagues in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Tennessee, and others, regarding your experiences with either PD standards or guiding principles for providing professional development. For example:

  • What has been your experience with PD standards?
  • How do you use PD standards in your work? Or, how are you planning on using them?
  • What are some benefits of having PD standards?
  • What are some drawbacks?

This is our opportunity to learn from each other about what makes quality professional development that improves instruction and learning for all adults. And it's just the beginning.

I look forward to hearing from you ~

Jackie

Jackie Taylor

The draft AALPD Professional Development Standards and indicators can be found by visiting:
http://www.aalpd.org/AALPDStandardsandIndicatorscombined11-06-07.doc


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1756] Re: Experiences with PD Standards
From: Fran Mumford fmumford at msde.state.md.us
Date: Thu Nov 29 08:00:28 EST 2007

  • What has been your experience with PD standards?

Here is Maryland at the State Department of Education there are Professional Development Standards that are used to approve professional development activities for certification or renewal of certificates. These hold for K-12 and adult education.

  • How do you use PD standards in your work? Or, how are you
    planning on using them?

We plan to use them to provide instructional guidance to teachers in the implementation of our new curriculum that will be implemented in FY2009. We will be responsive to their needs. Many teachers are also asking for technology related skills training.

  • What are some benefits of having PD standards?

The benefits are that adult education and correctional education have access to an inclusive approval process. The guidelines fit our needs and are geared to student learning outcomes and a series of activities/events that are designed to take an instructor from awareness to skilled user of the instructional skill/methodology. We can tap into any professional development activity that has been approved for use within the state. One that is particularly good is on "brain based research and its implications for instruction."

  • What are some drawbacks?

It takes considerable planning and development time (2-4 months) to match the Professional Development Standards and to obtain final approval. (Note: Once approved, the professional development activity can be used as many times as needed.) I should also say that not all professional development has to go through this process. It is only for those activities that are related to certification/renewal.
The standards are good guidelines to follow and can be found on the Maryland State Department of Education website. Standards are attached. (Where it speaks specifically to children, these areas are waived for adult educators.)

Fran

Dr. Fran Tracy-Mumford

Academic Program Coordinator

Correctional Education

Maryland State Department of Education

Baltimore, MD


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1758] Re: Experiences with PD Standards
From: Amy Trawick
Date: Thu Nov 29 10:47:19 EST 2007

Experiences with PD StandardsFran, thank you for sharing Maryland's PD Standards. At one point you say,

It takes considerable planning and development time (2-4 months) to match the Professional Development Standards and to obtain final approval.

Could you talk some more about what's involved in "matching" the PD Standards? For instance, does a PD event need to meet every indicator (I assume not) or one indicator from each standard--or is there some other scheme? I'm just curious about practical applications of a set of PD standards.

Thanks much,
Amy

Amy R. Trawick
North Wilkesboro, NC


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1759] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 33
From: Cindy Fischer
Date: Thu Nov 29 12:18:58 EST 2007

In response to Fran Mumford's contribution, I'd like to add a few things. As an Instructional Specialist for one of the programs in the State of MD which works with the MD State Department of Education, I and the rest of the IS's in the State were given the PD Standards "rollout" at a meeting in October. The standards were developed by a group of stakeholders over a year's time. There are some problems, however, in how these standards will be implemented. For example, MD still has no real set of courses that an instructor, from beginning to experienced, must have in order to keeping teaching. Furthermore, there is no instructor certification or recognition attached to the implementation of these standards, which makes them difficult to "enforce." At the IS meeting in October, we were told there would be work groups who would help come up with a more streamlined package. I am all for standards and I think the standards the workgroup came up with are great. I'm just worried, as the IS who has to manage and implement professional development for an entire program, that this could become a "dicey" task, especially where our instructors are concerned. I know that professional development is an important aspect of instruction and that our instructors deserve the best. However, they also deserve to be compensated. As a State which receives considerably less dollars for its Adult Education programs, money becomes a central issue. I am sure we will come to an excellent resolution if we are given the time to carefully structure the implementation of the standards.

Sincerely,

Cindy Fischer

IS

President, MAACCE


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1760] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 33
From: Fran Mumford
Date: Thu Nov 29 13:41:18 EST 2007

I will also mention there is a slightly different set of requirements for k-12 teachers, adult education professionals who receive grants from the state, and correctional education professionals who work for the state. My previous statements could have been a little misleading. There is tremendous latitude within the portfolio of courses that are currently developed for teachers. For some correctional education teachers, there are specific requirements to obtain initial certification; otherwise, the activities are through personal choice or specific program requirement, if s program places a requirement for all of their teachers to take a specific activity/course. Hope this serves to clarify.

Fran

Dr. Fran Tracy-Mumford

Academic Program Coordinator

Correctional Education

Maryland State Department of Education


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1762] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 34
From: Yankwitt Ira
Date: Thu Nov 29 14:33:28 EST 2007

I very much appreciate the spirit of Cindy's post. Back in May, I changed jobs from directing the state-funded professional development project for New York City, to overseeing professional development initiatives for NYC's largest program. The program I now work for (the NYC Dept. of Education's Office of Adult and Continuing Education) has over 400 teachers and nearly 800 classes citywide. I think the PD Standards are both visionary and comprehensive. At the same time, as my job has changed from thinking about professional development systems at a macro level to thinking about professional development implementation at a program level, the PD standards have gone from unqualifiedly inspiring to somewhat frightening. My concern is that unless the adoption of the Standards is preceded by an increase in funding for professional development infrastructure and resources, they will go from being a blueprint for systems-building to simply another accountability burden for local programs.

Ira Yankwitt

Director of Program Initiatives

Office of Adult and Continuing Education

NYC Department of Education


Feedback on the AALPD Professional Development Standards

Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1761] Re: Experiences with PD Standards
From: Wendi Maxwell
Date: Thu Nov 29 14:04:24 EST 2007

We have not articulated formal PD standards in California although, as you noted, we do have guiding principles. Development of standards in our state is a highly complex process involving input from several hundred school districts, community colleges, and CBOs, formal State Board actions, open hearings, legal opinions, etc., therefore standards development is not something that is undertaken quickly. We are beginning a conversation that parallels the one on this list. I will be using the discussion topics to guide our progress. It's wonderful to have this dialogue as a model.

David asked for feedback on the proposed AALPD standards. I think the standards themselves are mostly very good and very appropriate. Good job everyone that worked on them! The indicators however, are sometimes a little overly prescriptive for our state and not always something that can be accomplished on a broad scale. I think they would work very well as indicators for our local programs. (I've always considered indicators to be examples rather than requirements, so for the most part, the standards themselves take care of the majority of issues for me.)

I must chime in on Standard #11 which talks about paid professional development time. I wholeheartedly agree that the best practice would be for teachers to have paid release time. I don't see this however, as a professional development standard. It's a program management standard - just like other business practices. CA has public employee collective bargaining agreements. All teachers in our state adult schools (app. 12,000 teachers) are required to hold valid teaching credentials - adult education teachers included. Most school districts negotiate wage and benefit packages with the union representing their teachers. Release time for professional development is a negotiable item, just like health insurance or retirement benefits. If you're going to add standards on management practices (release time, livable wage, benefit package, full time employment, grievance or arbitration system), you open up a whole can of worms that the PD system is not responsible for, and cannot implement. For us, standards would have to focus only on the content of professional development systems, not the employment agreements between employer and employee.

Standards 1 - 10 all seem strong, however I don't think you can appropriately expect all PD activities to meet all standards. Let's think about the various kinds of activities we have - one shot workshops, linked workshop events, conferences, symposia, downloadable materials, online courses (both asynchronous and self-paced), regional collaborations, in service training within a school or college, coaching and mentoring, networking groups, study circles, learning communities, etc. Different standards are going to be more meaningful for different types of PD activities. We want to make sure that we don't dilute the value of a particular style of activity or learning by making it adhere to standards that may not be appropriate for that style. (For instance, in-service programs designed to orient a teacher to a particular school probably don't need standard #8 - program, community, and state level collaboration - as much they do standard #9 - building a learning community.)

Another example. For instance (#6), there are still valid roles for the one-shot workshop, especially when you're trying to establish a common recognition of the importance of specific practices. The same holds true for self-paced online courses, downloadable documents, etc. (A teacher may be ready to learn a little bit about something, but not yet ready to incorporate that knowledge into their practice.) Likewise the idea that everything contributes to a learning community (#9) is very nice but not always needed. Teachers also seek out information for their own individual career development - not necessarily aligned to the goals of the community within their school.

All those concerns primarily address David's question ":Should all standards apply to all activities?" Answer - you should always evaluate your PD activity on all the standards, however if your activity doesn't meet all the standards, it doe not necessarily mean it's the wrong thing to do.

The bigger question is "Do you like the standards? Are they too restrictive? Are they too general?" I think the standards are great, except #11, which I don't think is actually an indicator of effective professional development. It's an indicator of effective program management - different thing. I think the standards are appropriate, are challenging, and are realistic. Not too hard, not too soft, as Goldilocks said, "just right."

Wendi Maxwell

Education Programs Consultant

Adult Education Office

California Department of Education


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1762] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 34
From: Yankwitt Ira
Date: Thu Nov 29 14:33:28 EST 2007

I very much appreciate the spirit of Cindy's post. Back in May, I changed jobs from directing the state-funded professional development project for New York City, to overseeing professional development initiatives for NYC's largest program. The program I now work for (the NYC Dept. of Education's Office of Adult and Continuing Education) has over 400 teachers and nearly 800 classes citywide. I think the PD Standards are both visionary and comprehensive. At the same time, as my job has changed from thinking about professional development systems at a macro level to thinking about professional development implementation at a program level, the PD standards have gone from unqualifiedly inspiring to somewhat frightening. My concern is that unless the adoption of the Standards is preceded by an increase in funding for professional development infrastructure and resources, they will go from being a blueprint for systems-building to simply another accountability burden for local programs.

Ira Yankwitt

Director of Program Initiatives

Office of Adult and Continuing Education

NYC Department of Education


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1763] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 34
From: Kate Brandt
Date: Fri Nov 30 10:57:03 EST 2007

I want to second Ira on this. I've been a staff developer for the CUNY's adult literacy programs for a number of years, so obviously I believe that staff development can make a difference. In the funding structures we currenly operate in, however, in which being an ABE/GED instructor requires no formal training and is not compensated by benefits or a living wage, the idea that each teacher can have an individual PD plan seems "pie in the sky." Before such standards could be adopted, we'd have to work to make sure that there's funding to support them. Otherwise, as Ira pointed out, these could become simply another under- or non-funded accountability measure.

I also have some questions about the standards. What is "universal design?" And exactly which evidence-based teaching practices will we, as staff developers, be expected to pass on to teachers?

Thanks,

Kate Brandt

ABE/GED Staff Developer

City University of New York


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1765] Re: ProfessionalDevelopment Digest, Vol 26, Issue 34
From: Caren Fairweather
Date: Fri Nov 30 11:44:35 EST 2007

In response to Ira' and Kate's emails, below, in the mid-90's NYSED was looking into creating a portfolio system to credential adult literacy teachers (since NYS has no degree or certification in Adult Literacy). I particpated on the statewide work group. And, as I recall, as Ira suggests, the lack of funding to support professional development was a main reason the project came to a screeching halt. In New York, the lion's share of Adult Literacy instructors are part time employees. In many cases they are not covered by the same employee benefits as full time public school K-12 teachers, who get pay increases or steps upon completing a Masters' Degree, attaining permanent certification, etc.

So I guess I am adding details to Kate and Ira's missives - And I need to pose the question: what must we do to validate and professionalize adult literacy and provide teachers of it comparable professional opportunities, including salary and benefits, time off for professional deevlopment, etc. The obvious partial answer is to create a mechanism for funding public adult literacy education. Can't say I have an answer to that one!

Caren Fairweather

Executive Director

Maternal-Infant Services Network

Central Valley, NY


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1764] Re: Speak up NOW please about theAALPDdraft standards
From: Amy Trawick
Date: Fri Nov 30 11:50:46 EST 2007

The latest edition of TCRecord contains a reprint of an article by Alisa Belzer and Ralf St. Clair entitled:

Back to the Future: Implications of the Neopositivist Research Agenda for Adult Basic Education http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=11915.

It struck me as relevant to the current discussion about the AAPLD standards because of standards #1 and #5, which address the use of research in professional development. I think the whole notion of providing pd in "research-based" instructional approaches is a complex one, considering:

  1. the scant research that exits;
  2. the types of research that "count," and
  3. how we as professional developers tend to talk (or not talk) about research.

Thus, I especially like standard #5 and think it would be a great contribution to the field. I do wonder if there is an implied right answer involved in some of the indicators. For instance, 5c reads "Practitioners are encouraged to examine research critically." In some systems, this could mean checking to see if the research is experimental or quasi-experimental with random sampling. If it isn't, it doesn't count (or not as much). In other systems, it could mean realizing the strengths and contributions of various kinds of research, recognizing characteristics of quality for each, and making judgments accordingly. Is it the intent to leave the interpretation of research open by the system?

This issue of specificity gets at one that the committee is interested in getting feedback on--so just a few thoughts on that. To me, the standards don't really read as standards to reference in terms of a specific training/pd opportunity but in reference to building/enhancing a PD system. I envision the AAPLD standards being used much like many sets of "national" standards (e.g., EFF; IRA/NCTE; NCTM)--as a go-to document that systems use in developing their own standards. I would not expect nor encourage a system to just "adopt" the standards in whatever form AAPLD ultimately provides. Instead, I would expect and encourage systems to use them to inform their thinking when developing their own PD system. Thus, I tend to think it is a good idea to go a little broad--because wrestling internally with how the system interprets certain standards/indicators fosters ownership and customization to the local context. And, because I see the standards as being useful for the whole system, I see #11 as being relevant (someone else had pointed out that this is a management issue), although I would turn each lower-case Roman numeral into its own indicator.

In general, I think the document does a good job of remaining flexible, but sometimes, as someone else pointed out, it gets very specific. For example, 1d specifically states, "Prepares instructors to address new content through varied teaching strategies, including a problem-solving approach." The last part seems more specific than the indicators usually are. Why is a problem-solving approach mentioned specifically, as opposed to a participatory approach or a contextualized approach or some other? I also wonder about the use of the term "universal design", specifically. It may be okay, especially if there's a glossary as a supplement, but it also dates the document (it's a "hot" term/approach right now but could be replaced with something similar down the road). 11.a.iv. is very specific with "monthly staff meeting"--maybe "regular staff meetings" would be better. And all of THIS ties to the question of are these "standards" or "guidelines." You might even add "recommendations" to that question. If there is a desire to forward a certain approach to teaching and research--in addition to pd--the document could be accompanied by another "Recommendations" document. Wouldn't that be fun to write:).

Thank you to everyone on the committee. I think this is quite a meaty document, and I so appreciate your work on it!

Amy

Amy R. Trawick

North Wilkesboro, NC


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1769] AALPD standards and policies
From: Andy Nash
Date: Sun Dec 2 17:17:30 EST 2007

Hello,

These questions and comments will be very helpful for guiding revisions to the PD standards, although I want to echo the sentiment that whatever AALPD creates will only be useful if it is revisited and contextualized by the "stakeholders" in each state system. What's valuable about standards is that they prompt a conversation about quality - what it is and how we know it when we see it - and that it's this conversation that builds ownership and buy-in to a common vision. The challenge is to make sure that the next "generation" of practitioners get to join this conversation rather than be handed down a static set of expectations to meet.

I also want to add a reminder that before AALPD drafted standards, it drafted a set of policies designed to ensure that quality PD would be supported by the funding and infrastructure it requires (http://aalpd.org/priorities_pdpolicies.htm). Standard #11 (which states that effective PD "is based on a set of policies that support practitioners' access to quality professional development") is our attempt to make this linkage very explicit. Separating the standards from the policy document creates the potential for the abuse (unfunded mandates) that Ira, Katie, and others have mentioned.

As I look at Standard #11 again, though, I'm noticing a different cause for concern - the indicators (and the related policies in the policy document) speak to the working conditions of teachers but not the working conditions of professional developers. It strikes me that an organization representing the interests of professional developers might want to reconsider this! (See http://www.mcae.net/QualityWCStandardsandIndicators0207fin.pdf for the MA Coalition for Adult Education's Standards for Quality Working Conditions - also focused on teachers but a model we could draw from.)

Finally, just a couple of points of clarification:

  • The Standards are intended to describe a coherent, quality PD system, so I agree with Wendi that individual PD activities will not meet every standard.
  • The Indicators are examples of what implementation of the Standard could look like, not prescriptions. Local negotiation and interpretation of what those Indicators should be would make for very rich PD.

Please continue the critique!

Andy Nash


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1770] Re: AALPD standards and policies
From: Nadia and Kevin Colby
Date: Sun Dec 2 22:47:22 EST 2007

For an instructor who has worked in the field for quite a few years by now, and after reading most of the comments posted by colleagues, administrators, professional developers, and researchers three items stand out:

  1. Practitioners are given opportunities to apply research to their own practice. (from standard #5)
  2. PD is available in varied formats such as face to face and on line workshops, courses, study groups, sharing groups, university based classes, self study, technicals assistance, program based work, etc. (from standard #6)
  3. Time for practitioners to develop a professional development plan with access to professional development that supports the plan and supportive monitoring by supervisors of staff professional development plans (from standard #11).

The components above seem to tap into two related themes that have been consistently connected and in some cases described thoroughly in the postings: FUNDING AND TIME

In their very interesting postings, David Rosen and Emma Bourassa described their experiences with change and learning. It was really compelling to read about David's experience in the Philippines and Emma's in Mexico because in both instances what triggered change were quite long journeys into unknown environments that probably lent themselves to a profound (if I may use the word) reflection on education. David Rosen added the idea of "an intellectual itch" as another reason to search or to challenge even our own notions.

Although the term is not defined, and I doubt it can be measured in standardized ways, professional wisdom might emerge more naturally, and with the commitment that a sharing practice carries with it (in terms of research, reflection and overall preparation) as stated in standard #11.

The standards are not specific with time regarding face to face workshops. My experience is that when a workshop actually triggers that intellectual itch or curiosity, or when it has great quality I will try it in class. Follow ups are always great, though.

A dream that is stated in standard #6 and is connected to standard #5: Would the horizons of adult education change if universities supported staff in continuing education and in community colleges by providing lower tuition for adult educators? This would be a nice prescription.

Nadia Quiroz-Colby


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1779] Re: AALPD: Please post feedback by Dec. 7th
From: Mev Miller
Date: Thu Dec 6 10:39:37 EST 2007

I haven't had a chance to read all the posts, so I hope my comments are not duplicative...but...

hmmmm - how to say this...

I know we want the standards to be relatively broad stroke -- and I think including UDL is important (and often overlooked). But I'm a little concerned that in all our speak of "all learners," varieties of approaches and methods and building collaborations, adult learning priorities, etc., we maybe diluting too much.

I am especially concerned about #2. It seems the only conversation about supportive environments underscores the need for Universal design. (There have been a couple of questions about the definition of universal design and the only "response" I've seen is the reference to a CALPRO fact sheet.) But I don't believe the UDL will necessarily get to the other critical realities of adult basic ed -- that we are working with populations disadvantaged by systemic oppressions based on race, class, gender, sexualities, culture, language, ethnicity -- as well as disabilities and age, etc.

I'm not sure what the language should be -- and I don't think that "PD providers use differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners" really gets at this. Perhaps the word-smithers can help here -- but in addition to UDL, I'd like to see some additional language that explicitly refers to PD that assists and supports practitioners learn more in depth about diversities, recognize and address privileged learning environments and also to handle & mediate conflicts that arise among students and practitioners....so that we can truly and meaningfully get to the broader stoke sentiments of "all learners" and "variety of methods."

and to #9 -- I would add "Resource Collections" -- those could be lending libraries, websites, etc.

Mev Miller

WE LEARN


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1781] Re: AALPD: Please post feedback byDec. 7th
From: jeffrey A fantine
Date: Thu Dec 6 14:38:34 EST 2007

PD Peeps:

I've been reflecting on the AALPD PD Standards, as many of you have, and would like to share the following comments (I, like Mev, did not read the entire discussion to date, so some of this may have been said already):

  1. I think the committee did a great job of drafting these standards - probably because they are very similar to the PD standards developed by the National Staff Development Council and I've always liked theirs: http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm.
  2. In the heading of the table under "standards," it reads "PD that improves the instruction and learning for all adult learners." I suggest, "PD that advances the field of adult education" or something other than the deficit model (in other words, not using the word "improves") - PD is necessary for any field, and it's never ending - so let's not suggest something is being done wrong by using the word "improves" - maybe something like, "PD that ensures appropriate adult education services are provided in order that all adult learners meet their goals." - or "equips," or "allows for" ...
  3. My personal opinion is not to make them too wordy - which ultimately tends to make them confusing and attempt to tackle too much. I would suggest making them very short and explicit:

For example

Quality PD is PD that:

  1. builds knowledge and skills.
  2. is based on research.
  3. is flexible, varied and ongoing.
  4. is driven by data, relevant stakeholders, and a written plan.
  5. accommodates all learners. (although this should be an indicator for #1 or #6 depending on what is meant here)
  6. practices what is preached. (models adult learning theory)
  7. is supported by leadership.
  8. fosters collaboration.

Column 2 is where we should elaborate on each one of these with indicators. I may be the only one on this list that prefers fewer words, but as the saying goes, sometimes less is more...

If you do keep them relatively the same - I would consider combining #'s 3 and 4.

-J


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1782] Standards
From: Uvin, Johan
Date: Thu Dec 6 16:18:21 EST 2007

I am sharing thoughts from one of our Professional Development Center (PDC) staff and myself below.

Johan

Uvin Comments

  • Are we talking about professional development standards and/or professional development staff/facilitator standards? They are different, I believe. I think we need a subset or different set that deals with the standards that professional developers need to meet. These will include subject matter knowledge (e.g., math PD facilitators should know math at least at the Algebra II level), facilitation/training skills, and attitudes.
  • I have become increasingly concerned about the notion of professional wisdom as separate from what we know from research. I know this is a widely used construct. If it implies expertise, then I am fine with it. If not, I am concerned that it is more about beliefs and values and I am not sure how relevant those are any longer in the absence of research that backs them up and given the outcomes of our adult education programs.
  • I suggest reducing the number of standards for professional development -- as an intervention [as different from standards for professional developers] -- to two categories: those supported by research on effective professional development and those that deal with access (the last set). I would appreciate a more elaborate version of what is there for the latter set now.
  • As for research on effective professional development, here is what I think we know from effectiveness research on PD and the standards should capture this, if they don't already.
    • Focus on daily activities
    • Active participation
    • Sufficient time for learning to take place
    • Sustained effort
    • Access to outside expertise
    • Group support
    • Collaboration
    • Focus on curriculum and assessment aligned with
    • curriculum

    • Focus on higher order thinking skills (as content of PD)

PDC Comments

This issue has been part of an ongoing conversation that we're working to pull together by the end of the month.

speaking only for myself, and from what I sense from the field:

  • What are the most important PD standards or indicators from your perspective?

The 11 principles articulated are all important, and, to some extent, interrelated. Those that address practitioners' needs and strengths, and foster interaction and learning communities are those that I would see as being particularly important, but wouldn't say they are the most important separate and apart from the other indicators.

  • What are the most important standards to advance PD in your
    area/state?

Fostering a culture of respect for practitioners, and for their ongoing learning and development.

  • What PD Standards would be easy to implement?
  • What would be hard to implement?

I don't believe that standards are inherent easy or difficult to implement -- shifting the culture from one where the perception that external accountability favors numbers and outcomes to the exclusion of the enabling elements (time, resources, compensation) are obstacles that need to be overcome.

The standards as written provide a useful basis for state-wide, or even program-based discussion as adult educators move forward in growing lasting means of fostering professional development.

  • Is there anything missing?
  • Is there anything that isn't clear?
  • Are the proposed standards too general? Which ones? All of
    them?
  • Are they too specific, too prescriptive? Which ones?
  • The question of whether or not to have professional
    development standards is still open. Are there good reasons not to have them? Are there good reasons to have them?
  • Do you think some or all of the proposed standards would
    advance the field, help to improve teaching and learning? If so, which standards would advance the field?
  • What would need to be in place in order to make these
    standards possible?

Johan E. Uvin

State Director

Office of Adult Education

Providence, RI


Subject: RE: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1779] Re: AALPD: Please post feedbackbyDec. 7th
From: Kate Nonesuch
Date: Thursday, December 06, 2007 4:43 PM

I'm with you on this, Mev. I'm currently working with 10 other women on a project to figure out how to change literacy practice in light of the literacy research on the effects of violence on learning. I think UDL is a useful idea in this context-a practitioner should assume that some/many learners will be dealing with present or past trauma due to violence, and that all of us live in a society that condones violence on many fronts.

However, in order to be useful in my present context, principles of UDL would have to include specific references to needs and strategies around violence; it's a question of really making UDL "universal" and like you I worry that important realities of our lives and our work would get lost, or purposefully left out.

Kate Nonesuch

Career and Academic Preparation

Malaspina University-College, Cowichan Campus

Duncan, BC


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1788] Re: AALPD: Please post feedback byDec. 7th
From: French, Allan
Date: Fri Dec 7 16:51:22 EST 2007

Words are important for the sake of clarity of expression, and should be used properly (my current pet peeve is the universal overuse of the term "absolutely").

And I agree with Jeffrey Fantine that being too wordy can lead to confusion. But I also see that excessive attention given to "wordsmithing" can detract from an issue and make us overly worried about anything we say. Criticisms of the use of the term "lurker" is one previous example that comes to mind. In the case below, "improve" is seen as having a negative context, that something is wrong. I see "improve" as implying that something is not perfect, not static and can get better, and not one of these characteristics is normally deemed a criticism. Professional athletes who have completed spectacular seasons will be the first to tell you that there is still room for improvement in their performance. Moreover, the word "advance" could also imply that one is lagging behind. And on we go (or can't go) because we get mired in trying to be perfectly politically correct with each word used.

Submitted respectfully,

Allan French

ESL Instructor

South Seattle Community College


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1789] Re: AALPD: Standards feedback
From: benard manyibe
Date: Sat Dec 8 07:31:27 EST 2007

Jackie,

Perhaps what I am raising is contained in the universal design that you have severally mentioned. Nonetheless, professional development standards should explicitly manifest sensitivity to issues like values, ethics, and diversity. Benard

Benard Manyibe
www.theyouthvisioninternational.org


Universal Design and Evidence-Based Practices

Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1767] Universal design, evidence-based teaching practices
From: David J. Rosen
Date: Sun Dec 2 09:58:59 EST 2007

Hello Kate, and others,

On Nov 30, 2007, at 10:57 AM, Kate.Brandt at mail.cuny.edu wrote:

I also have some questions about the standards. What is "universal design?" And exactly which evidence-based teaching practices will we, as staff developers, be expected to pass on to teachers?

In the proposed AALPD Professional Development Standards there is a reference, in two of the indicators under standard 2, to "universal design":

  • Standard 2. Prepares practitioners to appreciate and respond to the needs of all students, create supportive environments, and hold high expectations for all learners.
  • Indicator (a) PD planning takes into account the principles of universal design
  • Indicator (b) PD providers are trained in the principles of universal design

Universal Design
This is evironmental design that helps everyone, not just people with disabilities. A curb cut in a sidewalk, for example, makes crossing a street easier for those pushing strollers and those on roller skates, bicycles and skateboards, (the great majority of the people who use curb cuts) as well as those in wheelchairs.

In a classroom or computer lab universal design refers to the idea that it is not sufficient to have separate, sometimes stigmatizing assists for learners with disabilities; instead, the entire learning environment -- including technology -- should accommodate the widest range of learners, including those with physical and learning disabilities.

Universal Design and Technology

An example of universal design in technology is a software feature, found now in nearly all personal computers, that allows users to increase the size of the text. This helps people who have difficulty seeing small text, including those who are more severely sight- impaired. Another technology example is the text-to-speech software found in many computers, and that could easily be installed in all computers, that enables people who are legally blind to have text, including web pages, read out loud. This software may also be useful to those who have specific reading disabilities.

For more information on universal design you might look at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_design

For a definition of universal design in a learning environment, you could look at:
http://www.cast.org/research/udl/index.html

or
http://telr.osu.edu/dpg/fastfact/undesign.html

or
http://www.nectac.org/topics/atech/udl.asp

As for which evidence-based practices should be "passed on", the AALPD standards are not intended to be prescriptive in this area, but they do embrace both research (not necessarily "gold standard") and professional wisdom (which in my opinion has not yet been adequately defined in our field). Standard 5 focuses on practitioners' abilities to evaluate and apply research (including professional wisdom) and theory. I believe that the idea of Standard 5 is not to push any particular evidence-based practice but rather to help practitioners become skilled in evaluating and applying (and then judging the results of using) evidence-based practices.

David J. Rosen


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1768] Re: Universal design, evidence-based teaching practices
From: Corley, Mary Ann
Date: Sun Dec 2 12:51:03 EST 2007

Hi, David:

I thought I would share with you and others on this list a fact sheet that CALPRO staff developed on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). There is a great deal written on UDL, but we wanted something short and practical that would provide teachers with the definition and background of UDL as well as some concrete tips for incorporating UDL into teaching and learning. This fact sheet also is posted to the CALPRO Web site at http://www.calpro-online.org/documents/FactSheetUniversalDesign.pdf

Although the principles of UDL that we discuss in the fact sheet are in the context of what teachers need to know to ensure that instructional design and delivery are appropriate for and accessible to all learners, these same principles can and should be applied to the design and delivery of professional development. I believe that this is an appropriate standard for PD, but I think that we in adult education have not had many discussions on the concept of UDL, so it's perhaps a bit murky for us. In fact, in California, this fact sheet is the only adult education product that explicitly relates to UDL-and we probably need to do more to move the concept forward. I would be interested in hearing from others about whether your PD efforts address the topic of UDL.

Thanks,

-Mary Ann Corley

CALPRO Director


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1772] Re: Universal design, evidence-based teaching practices
From: Michael Tate
Date: Mon Dec 3 14:45:39 EST 2007

Hi David, and others,

Universal design would also include 1) making a class syllabus available prior to the start of the class, so slow readers and those who know they will have other claims on their reading time during the quarter can start early, 2) designing tests without time limits, so that those who have slow processing speed or who find the best answers by reflecting on the question and the answer over a longer time frame are not disadvantaged, 3) designing tests that allow students to demonstrate their knowledge orally, in short answers, or through projects, 4) designing calculators into math classes and tests, so that those who have short term memory deficits or who understand the principles but get tangled up in the calculations can demonstrate their knowledge.

For evidence based instruction, 1) build strategy instruction into lessons so that teachers teach how to use a reading strategy so students can practice it on the coming essay assignment, 6) build your class around graphic organizers, so that students can understand how the classes connect to their goals, and how today's lesson connects to the class goals. Strategy instruction and graphic organizers are essential for students with LD, and are very beneficial to the rest of the students in class. Another evidence-based practice, feedback, again is crucial for students with LD, but again is beneficial to all students. Have teachers build activities and classes that have frequent feedback points, so students can gauge how well they are mastering a learning point. Ideally, the feedback would be multimodal as the instruction has been.

As a field we underuse haptic and kinesthetic approaches, so building hands-on activities into classes will be beneficial for all learners while being critical for students with disabilities that interfere with listening or reading.

Michael Tate


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1797] Re: Universal design, evidence-based teaching practices
From: Robin Lovrien Schwarz
Date: Mon Dec 10 18:18:18 EST 2007

Michael-- this is beautiful-- I have forwarded it to a group of committed ESOL teachers who are striving to make their instruction more universal-- I say this in many ways, but you say it more eloquently! It is so important for teachers to understand that these adjustments are to the advantage of those who need them, not giving an advantage to those who don't really need them. After all we, really want our students to demonstrate what they KNOW and are learning, not race against a time limit or struggle to line up figures in an addition problem. Thanks so much for these wise words.

Robin Lovrien Schwarz


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1802] Re: Universal design, evidence-based teaching practices
From: Nadia Colby
Date: Tue Dec 11 09:52:46 EST 2007

Yes, the method is wonderful and I guess I did not do my homework before asking the question. What is really interesting is that universal design, according to the Ohio University Grant Partnership, states clearly that UD is essentially GOOD TEACHING that allows all the students to access learning, but it does not remove academic barriers.

So, UD really gives us a lot as teachers in terms of our approach to teaching, but there is (stated with hope and the commitment and understanding that this is the reality we live in Adult Education) the academic strides that some of us feel we need to walk to substantiate in the best way the method suggested in the standards.

Here is the link a had a look at (I hope it is not repeated below): http://telr.osu.edu/dpg/fastfact/undesign.html

Robin thanks for posting this again. And by the way, as a student I see my professor really going beyond the lecture type of approach, working in groups and using power points presentations that really make salient the content of the class. At times it has been painfully difficult to understand some concepts but I can see as a student that learning is really enhanced. In all fairness, as a teacher, I feel closer to my students because I am sharing with them the joy of learning, but I am also aware that at times the content is not immediately accessible and they struggle just like me, despite the differences of level and subject matter.

Thanks again, Robin.

Nadia


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1798] Re: Universal design, evidence-based teaching practices
From: Emma Bourassa
Date: Mon Dec 10 19:06:47 EST 2007

I'm wondering if anyone has tapped into the valuable resource of elementary teachers who are faced with level differences and adapting materials. There may be some valuable ideas there. While the students may (altho probably not) speak all the same language, the strategies that I have seen through my B.Ed have been directly transferrable to all of my ESL classes, regardless of their level or the strand. www.learner.org has many programs on literacy, multicultural text and second language teaching that I've found inspirational.

emma

Emma Bourassa

English as a Second or Additional Language/ Teaching English as a Second Language Instructor

ESAL Department

Thompson Rivers University

Kamloops, B.C.


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1800] Re: Universal design

From: Donald E Finn
Date: Mon Dec 10 22:42:52 EST 2007

Hello All,

I have studied UD and the application of UD principles in the classroom. I integrate UD into my teaching and into the preparation of educators in my role as a professor of Adult Education. I have conducted workshops about applying UD principles in the instructional environment, primarily in postsecondary education, but have presented at two AAACE conferences, at COABE, and at various state adult ed conferences. Based on these experiences I can tell you that instructors are hungry to learn more about strategies for making instruction more accessible for diverse students.

I view UD as principles of instructional delivery and design that provide teachers and students with options for interacting with and understanding and applying class/instructional concepts.

A few years ago, I wrote an article for Progress: the Virginia Adult Education newsletter that provided a quick overview of UD and some suggested applications and benefits of UD in the AE classroom. The link to the newsletter is: http://valrc.org/publications/progress/fall2003.pdf (scroll to page 8 to read the article).

Another online article that may be of interest is the April 2007 eNews newsletter published by the Regent University Center for Teaching and Learning. This one has a clear higher education focus, but still provides helpful tips.

I hope these provide you all with some ideas.

Don

Donald E. Finn, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor of Adult Education

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Adjunct Professor of Education

Virginia Commonwealth University


Subject: [ProfessionalDevelopment 1801] Additional UD Link
From: Donald E Finn
Date: Mon Dec 10 22:48:18 EST 2007

Hello again,

I neglected to include the link to the eNews article about UD in my previous post. The link is: http://www.regent.edu/admin/ctl/newsletter/2007/04-23-07.htm

Thanks,

Don

Donald E. Finn, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor of Adult Education

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Adjunct Professor of Education

Virginia Commonwealth University

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