Professional Development Providers Are Agencies That Offer Professional Learning Opportunities

1573 Words Jan 28th, 2016 7 Pages
Professional development providers are agencies that offer professional learning opportunities to teachers on a variety of topics. They often play a key role in reform efforts in education by introducing teachers to new policy demands and teaching new pedagogical strategies (Knapp, 2003; Little, 1993). A wide range of organizations provide PD services, from districts to nonprofits, commercial firms, and universities (Coburn, 2005b; Coburn, Buchanan, & Morel, 2015; Little, 1989).
Much of the research on professional development focuses on determining the features that make professional development effective—that is, which features of PD engender changes in practices in the classroom and the impact student outcomes (Knapp, 2003). This stream of research has produced inconsistent results. Initially, researchers seemed to converge on a set of features that defined effective PD. They have found that coherence and consistency of learning opportunities, along with active learning experiences and ongoing support during implementation, promote teacher learning and professional change (Garet et al., 2001; Newmann et al., 2000; Penuel et al., 2007). Recently, however, these results have been called into question by more rigorous follow-up studies, which have shown disappointing outcomes (Hill et al., 2013).
Apart from concerns about effectiveness, other researchers have explored the role of PD providers in the policy implementation process. While this research is limited, it suggests…
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