[Technology 1160] Discussion of Professional Development Research (July 9 - 13)

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Taylor, Jackie jataylor at utk.edu
Fri Jul 6 12:24:23 EDT 2007

Dear List Colleagues,

Next week (July 9-13), the Adult Literacy Professional Development
Discussion List is hosting a guest discussion on professional
development research, and implications for teaching and learning in our
field. To join the discussion, visit:

For a web-based version of the announcement below, visit:

Looking forward! Jackie Taylor, Adult Literacy Professional Development
List Moderator, jataylor at utk.edu

Title: Research on Professional Development and Teacher Change:
Implications for Adult Basic Education

Date: July 9-13, 2007

Resource for Discussion:


Marilyn Gillespie, Ed.D., Senior Educational Researcher, Center for
Education Policy, SRI International

Cristine Smith, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Center for International
Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Guest Bios:

To participate, subscribe:

To submit questions for discussion, email: jataylor at utk.edu

Description: Historically, very little research has been conducted in
adult literacy professional development. Recently, the National Center
for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL) has published a
chapter within the Review of Adult Learning and Literacy (v. 7) on
research in professional development and teacher change
f> . This chapter (available free and online) draws from the NCSALL
Professional Development Study as well as research on professional
development from the K-12 field. Join the Adult Literacy Professional
Development Discussion List where the authors, Cristine Smith and
Marilyn Gillespie, will participate with subscribers in discussion on
teacher professional development issues like:

* What is known about what makes teacher professional development
* How teachers change as a result of professional development
* Implications for policy, practice and research in professional
* How the Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers
(AALPD) can take action to:

a. Develop a centralized location for professional
development research, and
b. Advance research in adult literacy professional


Preparation for PD Research Discussion

Please reflect on your answers to any of the following...


1) From your experience, what has been the most effective
professional development in which you have participated? What factors
made it most valuable for your professional growth and learning?

2) What aspects of the chapter on professional development research
stood out to you most? Why?

3) What are the similarities and notable differences between K-12
and adult literacy education professional development?

Lessons Learned

4) Given the lessons learned from the NCSALL Professional
Development Study and PD research in general, are these understandings
being translated into the professional development our field is offering
teachers? For example:

a. Is more teacher training involving both the program
administrator and teacher?

b. Are you seeing more follow-up on-site?

c. Is there less of a focus in the field on single-session
workshops and more on program-based, job-embedded, or hybrid models of
professional development?

State of Research

5) What are the differences in K-12 and adult literacy professional
development research needs?

6) What kinds of research in adult literacy professional development
are most needed?


7) How are states currently funding professional development
research? What are potential ways in which states may fund PD research,
such as collaborating with neighboring states to address common PD
research questions of concern?

Professional Development Models

8) On-site professional development vs. the regional or state
workshop model: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Single-Session Professional Development - Exception vs. Norm

9) The authors note that one implication for practice from
professional development research is that states should make
single-session workshops the exception rather than the norm. Do you
agree? Why or why not?

10) What are other options for increasing professional development
designs that offer longer term, more job-embedded models of professional

Teacher Working Conditions

11) Authors discuss what researchers call the "dilution effect" of
professional development: The actual impact of the professional
development is diluted by all of the other factors that support or
hinder teachers from making change.

a. How do teachers' working conditions (such as paid prep time or
benefits) relate to their ability to make use of the professional
development they receive?

b. Is improving teacher working conditions a concern that can only
be addressed at the local level? Why or why not?

c. What work is being done to improve teacher working conditions in
programs and states? What has changed since the advent of the NCSALL
Professional Development Study, specifically pertaining to teacher
working conditions? Have we "taken the lesson home?" To heart?

The Role of the School Administrator in Teacher Professional Development

12) How do program directors support and/or constrain teacher change?

Using Student Data to Improve Instruction

13) What work is being done in using student achievement data to improve
teaching practice?

Teacher Turnover

14) Is teacher turnover higher in adult education than in K-12? What
are the factors that cause teachers to leave the field of adult
education? What are the implications of high teacher turnover for our
students, for our field?

Serve More Students or Serve Fewer, Better?

15) From your experience, share your perspective on the issue about the
extent to which research-based professional development should be more
heavily invested. For example, given that research indicates that
working conditions, such as access to benefits and paid preparation time
for ABE teachers, may actually influence the effectiveness of
professional development, should policy makers consider whether any
increase in funding be channeled into such expenditures, even if fewer
students are served as a result?

16) The annual average cost per adult education student in states is
$800.00. In many states, this cost is much lower. Should it cost more to
teach adult education students? Why or why not?

17) What other issues may arise in the quantity versus quality debate?

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