Evaluating Professional Development: A Faithful Witness
The quandary of getting professional development 'right' has been a challenge. While much is known about what makes effective professional development, it has not necessarily transferred to practice. I have examined the impact of the Leading Teacher Development Program, on the individual participant, over a three year period using an action research methodology. My findings have led to the development of a framework for professional learning consisting of four characteristics. At the core of the Professional Learning Framework is moral purpose. A professional learning program does not sit in isolation, nor should it. It is part of a whole. While the individual should drive their own learning, this needs to be within a system-wide context. What should drive the individual and the system is moral purpose. The challenge, for me as a researcher and participant, in this journey has been to be aware of my assumptions and to suspend them — to hold them at a distance while I examine what I see; to reflect, to test and challenge my meanings and beliefs. The faithful witness became my vehicle for this. In examining the relationship between professional development and learning, between learning and developing practice, I am the faithful witness.
Keywords: Professional Development, Professional Learning, Teacher Learning, Evaluating Programs, Faithful Witness
Ms Helen Astarte
Senior Project Officer, School System and Development Division, Victorian Department of Education and Training