Professional growth through working together : a study of reciprocal benefits for teacher and education advisor through classroom based professional development

Hartnett, Judith Elizabeth (2011) Professional growth through working together : a study of reciprocal benefits for teacher and education advisor through classroom based professional development. Professional Doctorate thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Teacher professional development provided by education advisors as one-off, centrally offered sessions does not always result in change in teacher knowledge, beliefs, attitudes or practice in the classroom. As the mathematics education advisor in this study, I set out to investigate a particular method of professional development so as to influence change in a practising classroom teacher’s knowledge and practices. The particular method of professional development utilised in this study was based on several principles of effective teacher professional development and saw me working regularly in a classroom with the classroom teacher as well as providing ongoing support for her for a full school year. The intention was to document the effects of this particular method of professional development in terms of the classroom teacher’s and my professional growth to provide insights for others working as education advisors. The professional development for the classroom teacher consisted of two components. The first was the co-operative development and implementation of a mental computation instructional program for the Year 3 class. The second component was the provision of ongoing support for the classroom teacher by the education advisor. The design of the professional development and the mental computation instructional program were progressively refined throughout the year. The education advisor fulfilled multiple roles in the study as teacher in the classroom, teacher educator working with the classroom teacher and researcher. Examples of the professional growth of the classroom teacher and the education advisor which occurred as sequences of changes (growth networks, Hollingsworth, 1999) in the domains of the professional world of the classroom teacher and education advisor were drawn from the large body of data collected through regular face-to-face and email communications between the classroom teacher and the education advisor as well as from transcripts of a structured interview. The Interconnected Model of Professional Growth (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002; Hollingsworth, 1999) was used to summarise and represent each example of the classroom teacher’s professional growth. A modified version of this model was used to summarise and represent the professional growth of the education advisor. This study confirmed that the method of professional development utilised could lead to significant teacher professional growth related directly to her work in the classroom. Using the Interconnected Model of Professional Growth to summarise and represent the classroom teacher’s professional growth and the modified version for my professional growth assisted with the recognition of examples of how we both changed. This model has potential to be used more widely by education advisors when preparing, implementing, evaluating and following-up on planned teacher professional development activities. The mental computation instructional program developed and trialled in the study was shown to be a successful way of sequencing and managing the teaching of mental computation strategies and related number sense understandings to Year 3 students. This study was conducted in one classroom, with one teacher in one school. The strength of this study was the depth of teacher support provided made possible by the particular method of the professional development, and the depth of analysis of the process. In another school, or with another teacher, this might not have been as successful. While I set out to change my practice as an education advisor I did not expect the depth of learning I experienced in terms of my knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and practices as an educator of teachers. This study has changed the way in which I plan to work as an education advisor in the future.

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ID Code: 48045
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Supervisor: Shield, Malcolm
Keywords: change sequence, education advisor, growth network, interconnected model of professional growth, mathematics, mental computation, practising classroom teacher, professional growth, reflection, teacher professional development
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Jan 2012 06:58
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2012 06:58

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