Mentor-Assisted, Reflective, Collaborative Teacher Professional Development

Mentor-Assisted, Reflective, Collaborative Teacher Professional Development

Elham Mohammadi, Seyed Mohammadreza Mortazavi
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5799-9.ch012
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


The content of this chapter is aimed at expressing, clarifying, and redefining the status quo of teacher professional development (TPD). However, it is not purported to provide the readers with a different approach to TPD; it will delineate the existing theories and practices in the field. Then, the issues will be identified, and suggestions will be made to overcome such complications. The focus is on the professional development of those teachers who have completed their basic training (i.e., in-service teachers). It will address the schools that employ K-12 system of education. However, the scope is not just limited to such schools. The chapter will discuss briefly the assumptions and ratiocinations underlying the teacher professional development movement and the opposing views that exist in this regard. Efforts will be made to clarify the theories, practices, and accordingly, the current trends of reflective practice. The writers will conclude with the argument that the social context provides the basis and is therefore the sine qua non of TPD. It will also be argued that the school-based, mentor-assisted collaboration of teachers can lay the groundwork for an effective program.
Chapter Preview


Educational reforms are ubiquitous and Teacher Professional Development is an inseparable part of it. The quality of the teacher is also gaining popularity within the last few decades. With the new notion of professional development, the idea of teacher training is no longer appropriate for a program that intends to provide teachers, both pre-service and in-service, with learning opportunities to better the quality of education. Teacher professional development is meant to set the standards of teaching and seek to strengthen the educational quality and teacher efficacy. Professional development is a very general term and refers to the development of a person in his very specific profession. It can be done through different means that include, workshops, meetings, classroom experience, mentoring, etc. For long, the notion of formulating a working model of professional development which accounts for, and results in, noticeable classroom outcome and product, has engaged both researchers and administrators.

For years, TPD was only limited to “staff development” or “in-service training” which typically included, workshops and “short-term courses” to focus on a specific part of their work (Villegas-Reimers, 2003, p. 11). As Darling-Hammond and Richardson (2009) observed, the last two decades, a new paradigm has defined professional development. Concomitantly, the models driven by workshops of the past have been avoided to give rise to advocate more powerful opportunities of PD (Stein, Smith & Silver, 1999). As such, Professional teaching communities (PLC) seems to hold considerable promise for capacity building for sustainable improvement (Stoll, Bolam, McMahon, Wallace, & Thomas, 2006, p. 221). Hence, in the past few years a growing interest has been witnessed in a professional development which is contemplated to be a long-term process that includes regular opportunities and experiences planned systematically to promote growth and development in the profession (Villegas-Reimers, 2003, p. 11). Therefore, the term TPD is not restricted only to the practice of in-service teachers, nor is it only for the pre-service teachers. The filed has beheld an increasing tendency to use the term “teacher”; the teachers who assume the role of active learners throughout the programs, contribute to the learning of their colleagues, and learn how to learn from themselves and also others. There are some models for such programs that will be elaborated through the chapter. So, the concepts of the Models and Systems will be presented first and then the issues that exist within the models will pose as one of the concerns of this chapter.

Models or Systems?

Caution should be exercised that the two terms, namely models and systems are not used interchangeably. Ingvarson (1998) elucidates that the Teacher Professional Model is different from a teacher professional System. A system is a broader concept than a model. Models are “specific processes” and “opportunities” for planning the professional development of a teacher. While, Systems are more comprehensive than models and take into account the goals, contexts, participants, models, evaluation and assessment and infrastructure of the program (Villegas-Reimers, 2003, p. 16). In this chapter the authors will briefly look at some of the models, delineate the assumptions that have given rise to them, discuss them critically, and propose alternatives, if need be.

This chapter will discuss the most recent underlying assumptions of Teacher Professional Development and look at the issue from a wider perspective. The background will sketch out some of the main and important models, frameworks and issues that exist in this regard. It will also take account of the history of the new era of teacher professional development that was embarked upon by Schön in 1984. In the next part, the focus of the chapter will be presented mainly at theoretical levels. Then, the issues will be clarified and the writer stance will be enlarged with respect to the existing models around the globe. Efforts have been made to capture the overall picture of the current TPD and address and reorient the practitioners, administrators, and policy makers within this frame.

Key Terms in this Chapter

In-Service Teachers: In-service teacher are the ones who have already completed their basic training and are now teachers.

System: Broader than model; usually at policymaking level for a region or a country.

Metacognitive Awareness: It refers to a level of thinking above cognition. This is knowing how to learn, not the content of the subject itself.

Models: Models are specific opportunities and procedures aimed at providing teacher professional development for the teachers.

Socio-Cultural Theory: It is a theory based on which learning takes place when one is socially present and build on the prior knowledge.

PD: Professional development.

Coaching: Refers to the ongoing long-term observations, assistances, and evaluations done by a coach.

Pre-Service Teachers: Pre-service teachers are those who are not teachers but are completing their teaching courses.

Context: By context the school and the venue where the learning of both students and teachers take place. Context can facilitate learning.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: