Published Online:
Published in Print: January 1, 2007, as Professional Growth

Best Practices

Professional Growth—Middle Grades

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

6th grade language arts/social studies teacher
Salem Middle School
Apex, North Carolina

Have you ever tried on a “one size fits all” garment and thought to yourself, “Who does this fit?” Have you ever noticed the same problem with staff-development strategy? How would professional development look if it were custom-tailored?

In my school, teachers work on learning teams within subject areas to set their own professional direction. We tailor our learning experiences to students’ needs and our professional interests. This has heightened our interest and commitment to growth.

See Also
See the related best practices columns:

“Professional Growth—Elementary”

When selecting an area of study, my team bases its decisions on ensuring student success. First, we identify the obstacles that keep us from meeting that goal. Those obstacles then become our list of professional development topics. From there, we narrow by consensus, interest, need, data, and experience. Once we have a focus, we devise a cycle of improvement that includes:

1. Research and reading: What are others doing?

2. Brainstorming: What can we do with our new knowledge?

3. Testing: How does this work in our classrooms?

4. Evaluating: Have we been successful?

5. Tweaking: What would make this better?

6. Assimilating: How do we make this part of our routine?

7. Sharing findings: Whom can we tell about this?

For schools to break out of the “one size fits all” PD model, teachers need three essentials: flexibility, freedom, and trust. Our team is given the flexibility to work productively, unencumbered by rigid external guidelines. Most important, we’re trusted to make the best instructional decisions for our kids.

If this sounds good to you, my team recommends A Facilitator’s Guide to Professional Learning Teams by Anne Jolly.

Vol. 18, Issue 04, Page 42

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login |  Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Commented

MORE EDUCATION JOBS >>