Supporting Low Socio-Economic Status Minority Students in Independent Schools Through a Professional Development Learning Community on The Brain Targeted Teaching Model
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Many teachers have beliefs about teaching that are derived from their personal experiences, educational experiences, family values, community engagement, observation of peers or colleagues, and professional development. Teacher efficacy is the belief teachers have about their abilities to teach all students. General teaching efficacy is the expected outcome or beliefs that teaching can impact student learning regardless of the action or task in a particular setting (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). This study examined the beliefs of teachers in an independent school through a professional development learning community, while focusing on the content of The Brain Targeted Teaching Model (Hardiman, 2012). This study also examined the beliefs and perceptions teachers hold about students, especially low SES minority students. A mixed-method study was designed to investigate changes in teacher efficacy and teacher-student relationships as a result of the professional development. Action research methods were used to examine teachers’ practices in a systematic and inquiry-based approach. The five participants were teachers from an independent school located in a northwest American state. The Teacher Efficacy Scale (Gibson & Dembo, 1984), classroom observations, the Brain Targeted Teaching Templates, interviews, and evaluation questions were used to understand teachers’ beliefs and perceptions about the students they teach in their classrooms, especially low SES minority students. Although, the results of this study were not statistically significant in personal teacher efficacy beliefs or general teacher efficacy beliefs, qualitative evidence does suggest that participating in a professional development learning community does support teachers in their beliefs about professional development and the strategies used in The Brain Targeted framework.