Factors Influencing Staff Development
Adults, like children, learn better when they perceive a need
for the information they are learning. Staff development should
provide teachers with authentic, meaningful tasks that relate
to improving classroom instruction.
Helping teachers improve instruction must focus on
more than just "going through the motions of teaching."
Showers, Joyce, and Bennett (1987) analyzed more than
two hundred research studies on staff development and concluded
that a major factor in how teachers teach is how they
think about teaching. Staff development should help teachers
increase their knowledge and learn to think about their
instructional decisions. Having a basic level of knowledge about
an innovation is important in helping teachers
"buy in" to it (Showers et al., 1987).
Location, Type, and Time
Over the last fifteen years the emphasis on staff
development has evolved in many districts from one-large-group,
one-shot workshop sessions to more comprehensive, collaborative
approaches that focus on the individual needs and concerns of
teachers (Waxman, 1987). Researchers have found that the exact
location of the staff development meetings (school, district office,
and so forth) is not a significant factor in the effectiveness
of the staff development (Showers et al., 1987). These same
researchers have reached similar conclusions regarding the exact
type of staff development and the time at which it is held.
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