Taking Control of Your Professional Development with Research

Post 1 – Introduction

This is the introduction to a compendium meant to empower the classroom teacher to take control of their  professional development through research.  So often, a teachers only experience with professional development is the prescribed whole-school PD that takes place perhaps once a month or through a school-wide book club.  While these development opportunities can be valuable, I believe the teacher should also have the ability to find, read, and implement ideas/skills/concepts for their own development.  

There are many reasons teachers benefit from controlling their own professional development.  It is quite possible the whole-school PD isn’t tailored to the needs of your students.  Through skillfully searching for and reading relevant research, teachers are better able to serve the specific needs of their students and classroom.  Also, I have experienced a rejuvenation for the ‘craft’ of teaching.  There is something quite empowering about controlling your own growth and development.  I am approaching my eleventh year in teaching, and developing the skills to find and translate education research has completely fought off stagnation and burnout in the classroom.  

There are many barriers preventing teachers from conducting their own development.  I have previously discussed these hindrances here.  Probably the most widespread impediment is time.  As a classroom teacher myself, I certainly understand the pressures of the school day, the numerous duties, and how time seems to disappear.  Another hurdle is finding the research. This continues to be the most frustrating hurdle for myself.  Most online resources require a login from a scholarly institution or a stiff fee for viewing their articles.  Work has been and will continue to be done in fighting this barrier.  A last obstacle to controlling your professional development is understanding the research.  Reading a journal article is a specific skill that takes understanding and practice.  Throughout this digest of posts, these barriers and more will be discussed and solutions presented to empower you, the classroom teacher.  

This compendium will consist of a series of blog posts:

  1. Introduction — Why is this needed? What is the purpose?
  2. Finding the Research — Where is the research?  What constitutes ‘good’ research?
  3. Reading the Research — How do I read and translate what I’ve read?
  4. Applying the Research — How do I apply this material in my classroom?

Post 2 – Finding the Research, will tackle the question of knowing where and how to find the research.  Obviously, you cannot read and apply valuable research findings if you cannot find the research.  This first step is quite important in the process.  Also, what constitutes good research?  What is viable and appropriate for usage in your classroom?  And again, what are the barriers and solutions to finding the research?  

An investment in this series will empower you to create a more effective classroom while also renewing a passion and vigor for your profession.  Thank you for reading.  As always, any comments/questions about these posts are welcome.  

4 thoughts on “Taking Control of Your Professional Development with Research

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  1. I don’t think there is anything I could not agree with. Being engaged in reading research, applying it to my own practice and sharing it with others has been a ‘power plant’ of my own development for a long time. Great blog and I look forward to reading the whole series.

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