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 have skillful, highly effective teachers who have consistent access to on going professional development. NCLB offers guidelines for effective professional development. States interpret these guidelines and add their own varied legislative requirements. The current result is an eclectic mix of ideas, methods, and approaches. This investigation explored the current professional development literature through the lens of Jack Mezirow's transformational theory of adult learning. Overlaid with theory wasThomas Guskey's model of effective professional development which resulted in a tool for planning and evaluating ongoing teacher education. A survey crafted around Guskey's five levels of professional development was given to 186 elementary classroom teachers in an inner city school district. Qualitative research methods were used to examine the district's current program effectiveness and to inform recommendations for improving its efficacy for all stakeholders. This study confirmed professional development that valued a teacher's personal background, included their present teaching context and focused on real time applications was considered effective by teachers and thus more likely to effect change in their classroom pedagogy. Additionally, it was beneficial when professional development included time for participants to both personally reflect on and to dialog with other colleagues about their learning. This investigation has implications for those involved in the ongoing education of teachers at every level from inception to evaluation.