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Title: Professional Development that Considers Teachers’ Attitudes toward an Innovation
Authors: Turner, Jeannine E.
Kim, ChanMin
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Turner, J. E. & Kim, C. (2006). Professional Development that Considers Teachers’ Attitudes toward an Innovation. In Barab, S. A., Hay, K. E., & Hickey, D. T. (Eds.), The International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Indiana University 2006. Proceedings of ICLS 2006, Volume 2 (pp. 1002-1003). Bloomington, Indiana, USA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: This study investigated the extent to which teachers' motivation and attitudes for professional development training facilitated their willingness to implement reform strategies. Teachers completed surveys prior to training and after receiving training. Analysis compared the responses of beginning teachers (new to the process) and advanced teachers (receiving advanced training). Advanced teachers showed that their instructional strategies and goals corresponded to the innovations at the start. At the end of the training, Beginning teachers gave positive ratings for the training and their emotions toward implementing the training. Introduction Researchers have suggested that potential adopters' attitudes toward an innovation should be considered for it's diffusion (e.g., Ellsworth, 2000). However, few studies have examined how to address this (Ertmer, Conklin, Lewandowski, Osika, Selo, & Wignall, 2003). This study investigated the extent to which a professional development training, one that regards teachers' attitudes and beliefs as being important elements to consider when designing professional development, may facilitate teachers' willingness to adopt instructional ideals and strategies of the innovation. The professional development training in this study was Great Expectations (GE) in Oklahoma. As a whole-school reform model, primary objectives of the training is to instruct teachers on ways to increase students' knowledge, self-esteem, and social competencies while also focusing on instructional strategies that align with constructivist principles. For example, similar to research on exemplary teachers (e.g., Allington & Johnston, 2002), model GE teachers are exceptional classroom managers because they establish and explain routines/procedures and they emphasize student self-regulation. In a high-implementation GE classroom, disciplinary actions are rarely observed. Additionally, GE teachers use instructional strategies that emphasize cross-curricular, meaningful lessons in which cooperation and effort are emphasized. Also similar to exemplary teachers, GE teachers express high expectations for their students' learning and carefully monitor their students' understanding (Turner & Shapley, 2000). Perhaps most importantly, teachers' implementation of GE practices has been shown to positively and significantly affect students' achievement (Biscoe & Harris, 2005). To accomplish these overall objectives, GE focuses on the transformation of teachers through. Evaluation results have shown that teachers who fully implement GE (Turner & Shapley, 2000) exhibit instructional and relational behaviors that have been described as "exemplary" in excellent teachers. By examining differences between teachers with and without experience of the GE training, this study investigated possible effects of the GE training, for example, addressing the question, "To what extent might model professional development training impact teachers' attitudes, motivation, and willingness to implement the training?" Methodology Participants were 158 teachers enrolled in a week-long GE summer institute. Of the participants, 97 were taking basic GE Methodology courses (beginning teachers), and 61 were taking advanced GE courses (advanced teachers). Prior to the beginning of the training, participants were asked to complete the following surveys: Incentives for Training (i.e., Self-Improvement, External Approval, Mandatory Pressure); Instructional Strategies (Mastery Approaches, Performance Approaches; from PALS, Midgely et al., 2000), and emotions for attending training (e.g., positive emotions and negative emotions). Following the training, participants completed an evaluation survey. The current analysis is part of a larger study that focuses on changes in teachers' attitudes and behaviors over time. Results First, there were significant differences between beginning teachers and advanced teachers with respect to their incentives for attending the training. Advanced teachers gave themselves higher ratings with respect to being motivated to attend the training by self-improvement (t=-2.389, p<.05), while beginning teachers gave themselves higher ratings for attending the training because of mandatory pressure (t=-2.389,
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2006

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