Organizing Schools to Support Teacher Learning: How Teacher Professional Development Experiences and Outcomes are Related to School-Level Practices
FAKHARZADEH-DISSERTATION-2018.pdf (1.814Mb) (embargoed until: 2022-05-01)
Fakharzadeh, Stephanie Elise
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Despite ample research on the effectiveness of professional development (PD) programs, the process by which PD leads to sustainable changes in teacher practice remains poorly understood. This limits the ability of schools to use PD as a lever for their improvement. Few studies in the US have examined the ways in which school contexts regularly enhance (or hinder) teachers’ participation in high-quality PD or teachers’ ability to transfer what they learned during PD sessions into their daily practice. This study investigated the relationships between school environments and the cumulative yearly PD experiences of teachers in the US by analyzing data from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS). Using hierarchical linear regression (HLM) models, this study found that providing all teachers with time for PD during the school day, providing all teachers with non-monetary supports for PD, and a collaborative school environment were significantly, positively associated with the alignment of a teacher’s PD experiences with the effective features of PD. The proportion of a teacher’s time spent on instruction was significantly negatively associated with the same outcome. While the alignment of teachers’ PD with the features of effective PD was significantly, positively associated with the self-reported impact of their cumulative content-focused PD experiences on their teaching practices, positive associations were also found between the reported impact of teachers’ PD and several key variables: the self-reported impact of feedback on their instruction, receiving feedback from internal management and principals, receiving feedback based on teacher self-assessments, and receiving feedback based on student surveys. This study therefore concludes that restructuring schools’ schedules and collaborative practices might provide more opportunities for teachers to participate in PD that is aligned with the features of effective PD. Furthermore, increasing the opportunities for teachers to receive feedback from internal management and/or feedback based on self-reflection and student surveys may also help teachers more successfully implement techniques learned during PD back in their own classrooms.