Transformative Professional Development Through The Eyes Of Jack Mezirow And Thomas Guskey

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Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Stahl, Leslie Diane
Digital Commons @ DU
thesis / dissertation description
The key to improving education is the classroom teacher. Students must haveskillful, highly effective teachers who have consistent access to on going professionaldevelopment. NCLB offers guidelines for effective professional development. Statesinterpret these guidelines and add their own varied legislative requirements. The currentresult is an eclectic mix of ideas, methods, and approaches. This investigation exploredthe current professional development literature through the lens of Jack Mezirow'stransformational theory of adult learning. Overlaid with theory wasThomas Guskey'smodel of effective professional development which resulted in a tool for planning andevaluating ongoing teacher education. A survey crafted around Guskey's five levels ofprofessional development was given to 186 elementary classroom teachers in an innercity school district. Qualitative research methods were used to examine the district'scurrent program effectiveness and to inform recommendations for improving its efficacyfor all stakeholders. This study confirmed professional development that valued ateacher's personal background, included their present teaching context and focused onreal time applications was considered effective by teachers and thus more likely to effectchange in their classroom pedagogy. Additionally, it was beneficial when professionaldevelopment included time for participants to both personally reflect on and to dialogwith other colleagues about their learning. This investigation has implications for thoseinvolved in the ongoing education of teachers at every level from inception to evaluation.