How do teachers internalize what they have learned during professional development and how does that knowledge impact student learning?
My action research focused on three professional development models to learn the impact of the training on teacher learning and determine correlation to student achievement.
I was a participant-observer in all three professional development models and collected observations and survey data to inform my study. I collected Star Reading and Math data for the 4th-grade in the Napa Valley Unified School District and Star Reading and Math data for the 4th-grade students taught by the teachers in the PLC that I studied.
My Academic Research Poster gives an overview of my research completed during the winter of 2020-21 school year.
Background and Need
While creating plans and determining instruction possibilities for teachers was a herculean task, it did pose unique opportunities to re-think education from the ground up. Linda Darling Hammond in her book "The Flat World and Education," evaluated the education systems currently in use around the globe.(Hammond, 2010) She was looking for education equity in the United States and noted the disparity of practice from state to state. She found small examples of success that seemed to be short-lived. The COVID19 pandemic forced each state to develop a plan to educate k-12 students during the shut-down. Not since the Industrial Revolution has there been a re-evaluation of all education systems that have been so broad and all encompassing. An innovative re-imagining was required by all involved in education, from the janitors to the state Superintendent of Education. Teachers were at the forefront, and they tested their innovative mindset.
Statement Of The Problem
Tasked with teaching virtually, teachers used online video and audio conferencing platforms such as Zoom. As each teacher learned how to access and use Zoom, they also had to teach their students to navigate online from a distance. Teachers attended professional development webinars and adapted their lessons to the online environment. The question "How do teachers internalize what they have learned during professional development and how does that knowledge impact student learning? is especially relevant during the COVID19 pandemic of 2020-2021. This study examined three models of professional development:
I conducted a mixed-methods study that included using personal observation and surveys to collect participant-teacher feedback. I used Google Forms to collect survey data.The E-Learning Lab took place from August 10, 2020 - August 15, 2020, before the school year. Each day encompassed 8 hours of workshop instruction. Over the week, 40 workshops were offered that spanned all content areas as well as Special Education and Administration.
The 4th-grade Distance Learning Community of Practice met for an hour on 9/15/20, 10/19/20, and 11/30/20. These meetings were available to all 4th-grade teachers in the district and were compensated.
The 4th-grade Professional Learning Community (PLC) was the only model of Professional Development that was compulsory, compensated, and directly connected to student assessment. I analyzed Star Test Data that compared student growth and benchmark scores from the beginning of the study to the end of the study. The minutes of each PLC meeting as well as Pacing Calendars were included in the study.