Today, the ineffectiveness of professional development programs for teachers cannot be overemphasized. Evidence abounds that most policies governing the planning and conducting professional development programs for teachers have aways been mandated or prescribed by educational leaders with little or no input from the teachers for whom the programs were designed. These policies have always been exclusionary and antithetic to teachers’ motivation to attend professional development programs. This situation prompted the move for a fundamental change in policy focused on addressing teachers’ self-identified felt needs. Through a qualitative case study research design, using survey, interviews, and focus groups, this research brought to the fore, the ineffectiveness of the current practice. Thematic analysis of data yielded four major themes: choice, motivation, effectiveness, and satisfaction. This study proposed a transition from exclusionary to inclusionary organizational policy by educational leaders, thereby providing teachers access to opportunities and resources toward a more meaningful or valuable professional development. Among other things, some of the salient recommendations evolving from this study included granting teachers’ autonomy of choice; personalizing professional development; organizing professional development programs for teachers with common felt needs; transitioning from professional development to professional learning and/or professional learning communities. Implications for practice, leadership, policy, and further research are also discussed.
Professor, Educational Leadership, Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut, United States
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, TEACHERS, CHANGE, EXCLUSION, INCLUSION, NEEDS, POLICY, AND MANDATES