"Professional development should be a personal professional responsibility as well as an organizational responsibility. In other words, each teacher has a professional responsibility to continue to become more expert with every year of teaching. Each district has an organizational responsibility to support the professional development of each member of the faculty." Richard Allington

What do you think?

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I am not comfortable with the phrase "become more expert" since it implies a linear progression. Lifetime learning should not only be quantified -- expert 101, expert 102... I would support holistic experiences as well. For example, teaching or directing a summer camp program, drama/music production,managing a business,travel to China,etc. The point would be extending enriching experiences. Of course, the district needs to support development. For example, should we add another step on the salary guide for Masters +45? 2nd masters?
I don't think anyone would argue against the fact that lifetime learning is essential to our growth as educators and humans orthat incorporating the lessons we've learned into our classrooms exposes the students to the broadest world possible. I think the more relevant point of the quote is highlighting a continual need to keep up on educational research and practices. Even the most well read, traveled, and experienced teachers need to reflect on their practices and ask "is this the best I could be doing?" Though the subjects themselves are constant, the expectations of them are continually shifting. Would you see a doctor who hadn't brushed up in a year? How about one who hadn't brushed up in ten? If teaching and education is a craft maybe "expert" wasn't the best choice of words, perhaps skilled would work better. It's a teacher's professional responsibility to aim at becoming a master craftsman and a district's obligation to provide the necessary supplies. Mary raises an interesting question of "what's the incentive?" Perhaps it's a classic case of intrinsic versus extrinsic?
Growing as a professional should be an intrinsic desire to all those who to teach. Our district provides numerous opportunities to increase our knowledge and exposue to new approaches to old problems. I think the term "more expert" might be an exagerated term because as we teachers know, the more you learn, the more you realize that there is to learn. Thus, the term "expert" is difficult to master, but you should strive to be the best that you can be, while showing increased mastery each year. John Keiter
The jargon in the above paragraph seems to suggest that Professional development exist as a dual responsibility of both teacher and district. Hard to argue that with statement. We live in a dynamic world and must stay current in our profession. This is probably true of all professions. True teachers seek erudition and self actualization is nothing new. To me the real questions surround the idea of how should we become "the best that we can be".... Professional development takes many forms, Does it matter If a teacher chooses to spend their summer creating new and innovative programs for their classroom or attending available training? Both methods suggest attempted PD.

Efficiency and effectiveness of teachers are measured in the classroom. If a teacher is antiquated and thus not effective, their PD should come into question.

By the way, you are either an expert or not an expert, "more expert" is an abomination of the English Language. One last observation, getting better every year is a very broad idea. What does this Richard Allington guy use or suggest to use, every year to measure this concept of becoming more expert. Teacher evaluations, standardize test performance, student assessment, classroom management, improvement in student learning from beginning to end of year???
Mario, it sounds as if you enjoy a good argument! Expert is not only a noun, but it can be used as an adjective and an adverb as well. When used as an adjective, as Richard Allington has, it can be paired with more. It means becoming more skilled in an area for which you were already considered very knowledgeable. "This Richard Allington guy" as you so stated, is a well respected educator. He is past president of the International Reading Association and has authored several books and many articles on reading and learning disabilities and effective instruction. He has recieved a few awards for his contributions to our profession. I am sorry you are unaware of him!

In response to the posted quote, I agree that PD is a shared responsibility of districts and teachers. Districts should survey staff and evaluate student and teacher performance to determine what topics and forms of PD are needed and wanted. It is impossible for a district to satisfy the desires of all staff, so outside PD is also necessary. I think the most important thing to think about in the realm of PD is not just what interests you as a teacher/person, but what you need to learn to enhance your ability to meet the needs of as many of your students as humanly possible.
Michelle seems I struck a nerve. Thank you for clearing up the validity of using more expert. Since my grammar check always underlines the term in green I assumed my distaste for the term was warranted. I see you are a big Richard Allington fan. What impressive credentials, I understand why you are such a big admirer. Since you did not help me with my actual question I will rephrase my request.

I love Richard Allington’s idea of “more expert”, do you know what he suggest as the best way to measure this concept on a yearly basis?

Now about your assertion that I like a good argument, well to quote the famous words of Jules Winnfield (1994), “allow me to retort “. My BS is accounting with my minor in Economics taught me several things

1.Do not waste words when writing,
Professional development exists as a duel responsibly of teachers and administrators. Do you agree or disagree? Do we really need to say more?

2. In business, if two people agree, then, one of them is unnecessary
How many affirmations must one read, provocative statements encourage thought.

3. There is no such thing as a free lunch
Our distinguished author is really in the business of making money that is why he is no longer teaches in a public school.

4. Use auditors skepticism
“each teacher has a professional responsibility to continue to become more expert with every year of teaching” This sounds great on the surface but with a little auditors skepticism look at the things you may not consider

What if a teacher tries a new teaching strategy that fails is the teacher less expert and thus neglectful in their processional responsibilities?

What if the new strategy actually takes several years to work, do we adopt the strategy and the learning curve knowing that more expert is not happening every year?

Is it even possible to improve every year or like the Stock Market should we look at performance over a period of time?

What if a classroom teacher improves their classroom management though PD but takes a step backwards in technology? Are they more expert in some areas and less expert in others?

Can you improve as a teacher through PD but still see declining performance in the classroom?
Test scores remain poor but discipline and school pride improve tremendously as the result of a great teacher is that teacher still considered more expert?

What if you are a celebrated author and life long learner responsible for many great techniques in reading and yet the State in witch you practiced your trade and have the most influence over continues to perform at the bottom the nation? Are you actually less expert?

For all of Richard Allington’s achievements, Tennessee is 41out of 50 in standardized test scores.

I am just trying to say, teaching is very complex so stop trying to oversimplify it and force feed it to me, I am too proud of my profession for that.
I agree, but I also believe that it's more than just becoming more expert with every year of teaching. We owe it to our students to take the initiative to stay updated on the latest in technology, research and policies.
Taking Grad courses toward my Master's has been very rewarding, both professionally and personally. I believe I am becoming a more well-rounded person/teacher who is open to looking at new ideas in order to maximize the acheivement of my students. Professional development has made me more tolerant of the changes in society and how it affects the learning styles of students in my classroom. I also believe I am more aware of the academic needs of individual children than ever before because of on-going professional development.
Since the start of my Master's program, I have come away from these classes excited to try new strategies with my students. I can't say that they all have worked, but knowing that I have developed new skills for the good of my class has increased my desire to keep taking classes. The professional development does have an impact on you as well, as your students. I do agree that professional development is both personal and professional. It is the teacher/student who needs to persue new avenues for their clsssrooms, but also the adminstation needs to provide new and innovative development for the teachers to take and use.
There is always something new to learn. There are so many wonderful new ideas about
how children learn and how we, as professionals, may best facilitate their growth. My graduate classes have afforded my students some exciting opportunities which I wouldn't otherwise have had. There are also opportunities through professional development at school which have made a difference in my students' lives. Both types of development opportuntities are necessary. The freedom to select topics in which I need development is critical. So I differentiate my learning by taking graduate classes or supplement my learning in other ways. To me the bigger question is not who is responsible but how professional development may be carried out. With such abundant opportunities for growth, it is vital that we continue to use our experiences in our classrooms and with our particular students in order to inform our instruction/facilitation of learning. Open forums like this are very useful in providing the critical dialogue between teachers and those who make professional development decisions through the year. Without this dialogue, our development would lack direction toward cohesive and meaningful goals.
I agree - the responsibility to continually develop falls on the district and the individual. As teachers, we expect our kids to continue learning and expanding their knowledge and the same is true for us. The dynamics of our district are changing all the time. The makeup of a classroom ten years ago is nothing like it is today and we are battling so many different elements. When I started in 8th grade at JR, it was almost a culture shock. Our school dynamic was nothing like what I was accustomed to or even what I remember. Luckily, I had a team that was so helpful. In a way, they were my professional development for those 4 months. Whether it is through district PD or our own, we have to 'keep up with the times.' I also believe that the PD can come in so many ways. The state does have some mandates for the 5 year thing. However, I think we develop professionally a little bit each day or maybe each week. I learn new ways of teaching a concept or a new management technique all the time.
I was to believe that this format (can be a noun or a verb) was to elucidate on a topic presented by Jen and also to respond to other comments, but not to lambast another collegue for their lack (again, could be a noun or a verb) of their knowledge of an author (noun or verb).
I'm certain that there are authors abounding which others in this forum have knowledge of which I do not, and vice versa. This is a format for sharing knowledge and experiences.
As we all know, regardless of our titles, professional development is a major portion of the district's expenses, as it should be. We would all agree that it only benefits a district to provide this to their faculty. In addition, as we are ALL in education to ensure student achievement, it is one's personal responsibility to develop as an instructor regardless of what is offered by any district. As I am a teacher as a second profession in life, I also agree with another contributor to this forum that most successful employees of any profession gain their success by constantly keeping abreast of nuances within their field of expertise.
In the end, we only gain from life's experiences what we contribute to life's experiences.



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