ISSUED: 7 November 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The next Faculty Research Forum at Shepherd University will explore whether the community-learning model for teacher professional development helps schoolteachers utilize what they learn.
Dr. Dori Hargrove, assistant professor of education, will present “Teacher Learning Communities as a Professional Development Model for Improving Teacher Practice” on Wednesday, November 15, at 10 a.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Teachers are required to attend professional development classes, but Hargrove said the training often covers topics that don’t align well with the material they’re covering in the classroom. She conducted a study with some second grade and kindergarten teachers that provided them professional development with the opportunity to talk with each other and to figure out how to implement what they learned in their classrooms.
“By them having that community together, they talked about how that really helped them go back to their classrooms and start implementing what they learned,” Hargrove said. “I wanted to see if this technique works for primary elementary teachers because the research in this area has mostly been done in middle school and the upper elementary grades. Primary grades are very different and the kids are very different, so I wondered if the community learning model could work for them.”
The professional development provided in Hargrove’s study included follow-up sessions where the teachers could discuss what worked in their classrooms and what didn’t, allowing them the opportunity to compare notes and make changes.
“We need to find models for professional development for teachers that allow them to feel comfortable implementing new practices,” Hargrove said. “Professional development needs to be sustained over time and we have to find ways to help teachers learn this information. By building a community of learners where they are able to talk and grapple with it, they are able to feel more successful.”
For more information about Shepherd’s Faculty Research Forum, visit www.shepherd.edu/frf.
Listen to the interview HERE.
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