Do We Walk the Talk? Teachers’ Perceptions On Effective Professional Development In Literacy Instruction and Their Relationship To Students Reading Scores

May 3rd, 2012 | Category: Dissertation Abstracts @ Concordia, Uncategorized
By Stephanie Chatham


Educational leaders must make wise choices of professional development (PD) that alters teachers’ instructional practice and increases student achievement. At present, PD practices in schools are often inapplicable, limited, and appear to have little effect on student outcomes. Learning communities, however, have emerged in recent research as a more effective PD format. This explanatory, mixed methods study examined the perceptions of 270 elementary teachers in a large, urban district in the southeastern U.S. on effective PD for literacy instruction. Study emphasis through interviews was placed on the use of learning communities by eight teachers scoring highest on an initial questionnaire. A subsequent analysis compared these perceptions with actual student reading achievement scores. Teachers’ perceptions revealed distinct commonalities in their beliefs about what makes PD effective. Statistical analysis of reading scores of the two groups of teachers, however, revealed that their students’ overall scores were not significantly different.

Keywords: professional development, teaching practice, student reading achievement, learning communities

Author Information

Stephanie Chatham earned her Ph.D. in Leadership with a specialization in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago in 2012. Contact her at, (615) 591-3554, (615) 653-4717.

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