TAP's Elements Multiple Career Paths Ongoing Applied Professional Growth Instructionally Focused Accountability Performance-Based Compensation Bibliography TAP Outcomes Legislation Understanding Value-Added Teacher Quality Resources The Working Group on Teacher Quality
Ongoing Applied Professional Growth@if>
The professional development provided through TAP is dramatically different from traditional professional development that has been common in schools. Traditional professional development supports teachers through workshops, conferences and in-service meetings that typically happen outside of the school setting, are led by experts from outside the school and are unrelated to the specific needs of the teachers attending the sessions and their students. In contrast, TAP provides teachers with ongoing, job-embedded, student learning centered professional growth opportunities that are led by experts located within the school. This model of professional development is based on the research of the past 30 years which concludes that in order for professional development to be effective, it needs to be sustained and directly related to the circumstances at the school site.
Research support for this element includes:
- Elmore & Burney (1997) identify the characteristics of successful professional development as:
- Focusing on concrete classroom applications of general ideas;
- Exposing teachers to actual practice rather than descriptions of practice;
- Involving opportunities for observation, critique and reflection;
- Providing opportunities for group support and collaboration; and
- Requiring evaluation and feedback by skilled practitioners with expertise in teaching methods.
- Research by Guskey (2000) recognizes four principles that are common to professional development practices and used in successful initiatives that have produced demonstrable evidence of improvements in student learning:
- Focus on learning and learners;
- An emphasis on individual and organizational change;
- Small changes guided by a grand vision; and
- Ongoing professional development that is procedurally embedded.
- Large-scale studies of effective professional development document that student achievement and teacher learning increases when professional development is teacher-led, ongoing and collaborative (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002; Smylie, Allensworth, Greenberg, Harris, & Luppescu, 2001).
- Fullan (2001) contends that schools that regularly link teachers to other teachers to form a supportive community (networking), develop new values, beliefs and norms (reculturing) and then reorganize themselves such that networking and reculturing can thrive (restructuring), are capable of successfully reforming teaching and learning.
Tom Brown, Principal, Holston Middle School, Knoxville, Tennessee
". . . The quality of this year's new teachers to Holston is far superior from candidates that I have interviewed before. We have stepped onto an entirely different playing field."