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Spreading the Wealth of Professional Development April 23, 2012

During week 4 we focused on content knowledge and content pedagogy. Our readings for this week included two case studies in which teacher leaders were experiencing difficulty in their leadership roles, both of which involved working collaboratively in one content area with a select group of teachers.  One such group of teachers had been working for two years refining their practice of teaching English through classroom based coaching, yielding positive results in student learning. When it was time to bring this new learning to the rest of the teachers in the school, the literacy coach experienced push back from the teachers that were not involved in the original coaching experience. Many of them were uncomfortable at the thought of classroom visits and felt that they would be at a disadvantage since they did not have the 2 years of coaching the other teachers had (Michelson, 2007).

The other case study involved a group of teachers who were invited to work collaboratively to refine and develop K-6 Math Power Standards for their district. The district math specialist is concerned that, out of the committee invitees, only a small number are the Math Teacher Leaders that are currently represented at each school. These teachers are already familiar with the math standards as well as the need for instructional change within the district. She is making presuppositions about the negative views and lack of experience of the chosen committee members as well as anticipating that the Math Teacher Leaders at the schools will feel underappreciated and undervalued (Kane, 2007).

Both of these cases underscore the need to spread the experience of unique professional development throughout the whole staff and not just to a select group of teachers. All teachers deserve and should be encouraged to participate in valuable professional development experiences such as coaching and working on committees at the district level. Each of these case studies had teachers who were feeling left out or undervalued. In one instance, this was due to a lack of professional development experiences. In the other instance it was because they were used to being the “experts” and they felt insulted when they were not included in the committee. Perhaps these conflicts could have been avoided, or at least lessened, if these specific professional development opportunities had been available to a wider range of staff at an earlier time.

Michelson, J, (2007) Filling a leadership vacuum. Leadership Cases 2007 School Level Reform, Retrieved from  https://learn.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-755044-dt-content-rid-671378_1/courses/EDU6600_45677201123/CSTP.FillingLeadershipVacuum.pdf

Kane, D., (2007) Considering all voices. Leadership Cases 2007 School Level Reform, Retrieved from https://learn.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-755044-dt-content-rid-671379_1/courses/EDU6600_45677201123/CSTP.ConsideringAllVoices.pdf

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