Maine ASCD Journal of Maine Education

Journal 2015

The Journal of Maine Education is published by the Maine chapter of ASCD with acknowledgements of in-kind contributions from the University of Maine at Augusta. Our mission is to shape, energize and customize learning for all Maine educators.

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Page 43 of 122

Volume XXXI - Page 44 - 2015 THE NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT There is no doubt all teachers need professional development. Robert Marzano, a well-known education researcher, believes that "effective teachers are made, not born." (Heltin, 2011) Marzano advocates for teachers to learn from other teachers by observing and discussing effective teaching. "The goal, he said, is for teachers to compare and contrast what they see to what they are doing with their own students" (Heltin, 2011). DeMonte (2013) in a report published by the Center for American Progress entitled "High Quality Professional Development for Teachers," explains that professional development is needed for the success of school reform efforts. In other words, without effective professional development for teachers, the necessary changes to improve education in our schools will not be successful, and in turn, neither will our students. Teachers must be given the time to learn and practice what they learn to gain the proficiency necessary to do their job most effectively. Another good point DeMonte makes is the fact that teachers need sustained professional development as well as practice using the techniques for their learning to produce results. Professional development is about teaching teachers. High-quality professional learning does so with an eye on using what teachers already know and building on that expertise to improve their teaching—it is not about pouring content into teachers and then expecting them to instantly use what they learn. Just as students need to learn new content and skills over many days and many lessons, teachers also benefit from sustained professional learning that builds over time. (DeMonte, 2013, p.20) OBSTACLES TEACHERS FACE One of the barriers to procuring quality professional development is the lack of financial resources districts make available. Professional development is not seen as a priority in most schools in the United States. In a report by the National Research Council, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (Expanded edition), the following statistics were cited: Overall, there is minimal public investment in formal opportunities for professional development for practicing teachers. Most school districts spend only between 1 and 3 percent of their operating budgets for professional development, even with salaries

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