Alexis De Toqueville and the Dilemmas of Professional Development.Report as inadecuate

Alexis De Toqueville and the Dilemmas of Professional Development. - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

It is intriguing and frustrating that while research evidence on characteristics of effective staff development programs has existed for some time, these features are not commonly in practice. Most of the staff development conducted with K-12 teachers corresponds with the short-term transmission model, with no concern for what is already going on in a particular classroom, school, or district, little opportunity for participants to become involved in the conversation, and no follow-up. This paper lists some of the research-based characteristics of professional development (Table 1) that are known and might lead to reform: (1) Schoolwide; (2) Long-term with follow-up; (3) Process should encourage collegiality; (4) Agreement on goals/vision; (5) Supportive administration; (6) Adequate funds for materials, outside speakers, substitute teachers; (7) Buy-in from participants; (8) Outside facilitator/staff developer; and (9) Should acknowledge participants' existing beliefs/practices. The paper notes Alexis De Toqueville's descriptions of a sort of character that relates to living in a democracy--that of individualism or independence, stating that there are times when a collective sense of goals and instructional approaches are called for. It finds that the need for some sense of community activity with common goals is apparent to those in education today. The paper discusses teacher change, suggesting that teachers change all the time. It then provides a framework based on examination of the school organizational and teacher change research literature (Table 2). It states that professional development is a complex enterprise--full of ethical, structural, and cultural dilemmas and that foundational sources such as Toqueville's work can help educators think about the nature of the society within which they are working to achieve significant and worthwhile school change through professional development. (Contains 4 notes and 17 references.) (NKA)

Descriptors: Educational Change, Educational Objectives, Elementary Secondary Education, Inquiry, Models, Professional Development, School Restructuring

CIERA/University of Michigan, 610 E. University Ave., 1600 SEB, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259. Tel: 734-647-6940; Fax: 734-763-1229. For full text:

Author: Richardson, Virginia


Related documents