Putting professional development into practice : how teachers process, implement, and disseminate specialized knowledge of standards
Diemert, Kacey Marie.
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This study provides a detailed account of how teachers disseminate knowledge of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics to peers through school-based professional development. The design was a qualitative case study of four school district-based cohorts of middle grades teachers who led professional development in their schools and districts. Data was collected using interviews and school-based observations as each cohort was followed for eight months. The findings lead to a suggested framework for how teachers facilitate school-based professional development after having received professional development themselves, in a "teach the teachers" model. Data analysis produced a variety of results. Among other challenges, a lack of communication among school leaders created a barrier to dissemination. Although challenges were present, every cohort was able to facilitate effective professional development for their peers. The cohort members found that celebration of small successes during the process helped them persevere. The quality and depth of knowledge shared at the school level was diluted compared to the original presentation of the material, especially regarding the Mathematical Practices. This study provides encouraging results for future use of the "teach the teachers" model, which can be improved to maintain the quality of teacher-led, school-based professional development.