Professional Development for Quality Teaching and Learning: A Focus on Student Learning Outcomes

Professional Development for Quality Teaching and Learning: A Focus on Student Learning Outcomes

Cathy G. Powell (Bulloch County Schools, USA) and Yasar Bodur (Georgia Southern University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch031
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Quality teaching and student achievement have been the focus of much debate and research throughout the American education system. Despite implementation of teacher professional development, concerns remained about its effectiveness regarding quality teaching and student achievement. Thus, a paradigm shift ensued to promote effective, on-going capacity-building teacher professional development, known as job-embedded professional development. Educational milieus experienced reforms ranging from high-stakes testing to the standards movement, and recently, teacher evaluations incorporating value-added measures, all of which underscore professional development significance. The purpose of this chapter is to review, analyze, and synthesize current literature on teacher professional development, the need for job-embedded professional development, implementation challenges, and the relationship between teacher professional development and student learning outcomes. The chapter also examines gaps in the literature, followed by solutions, recommendations, and future research directions.
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The context of teacher professional development has been shaped by public policy at the national and state levels, which creates classroom-level implications for teachers. For instance, Goals 2000: Educate America Act (H. Res. 1804, 1994), serves as an example of education policy that influenced curriculum and instruction that touted lofty educational goals regarding increasing high school graduation and literacy rates, earning the rank of first in the world in math and science, while providing 21st century skills, all by 2000.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Teacher Professional Development: Activities, programs, workshops, or seminars in which teachers participate to learn content- or skill-based information that is intended to help teachers on topics ranging from instructional practice to classroom management. The primary goal of teacher professional development is promoting student achievement.

Seminal Study: A study that is influential because it provides new or unique insights, methodologies, or results. Seminal studies often provide the foundation for future research.

Quality Teaching: Effective instruction that promotes excellence and student learning outcomes through best-practices.

Paradigm Shift: A fundamental change in methodology or approach.

Job-Embedded Teacher Professional Development: A purposeful framework of professional development activities that includes on-going, capacity-building experiences for teachers that are designed to support quality teaching and learning as well as student learning outcomes.

Student Learning Outcomes: The results obtained by students that represent the cognitive and affective learning domains of education. Student learning outcomes are not limited to numerical grades or achievement test scores.

Landmark Report: A key report, often released by an educational organization, which has significant impact on education by sharing observations, solutions, or recommendations. Landmark reports often address specific issues in education.

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