What Are the Best Practices in Professional Development?

Exemplary Science: Best Practices in Professional DevelopmentBudget dollars for teacher professional development can be scarce, particularly in these economic times. Evaluating the quality of the professional development options available is more critical than ever. The Exemplary Science Monograph Series has updated Best Practices in Professional Development with a revised second edition.

The 14 professional development programs are presented in a series of essays that detail the real-life models that can serve as exemplars for districts and schools.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) advocate for achieving teaching excellence with teachers who:

  1. Understand and respond to an individual student’s interests, strengths, experiences, and needs;
  2. Select and adapt the curriculum;
  3. Focus on student understanding and use of scientific knowledge, ideas, and inquiry processes;
  4. Guide students in active and extended scientific inquiries;
  5. Provide opportunities for scientific discussion and debate among students;
  6. Continuously assess student understanding (and involve students in the process);
  7. Share responsibility for learning with students;
  8. Support a classroom community with cooperation, shared responsibility, and respect; and
  9. Work with other teachers to enhance the science program.

The editors for this monograph, Susan B. Koba and Brenda S. Wojnowski, organize the book into an overview of the need for quality professional development, several chapters highlighting exemplars of professional development, systemic approaches to teacher learning and change processes, and a reader’s guide to the book for professional learning communities, university classrooms, and other collaborative settings.

The reflective questions at the end of each chapter make this book a useful tool for science leaders, professional developers, and university instructors.

The entire Exemplary Science Monograph series is available either as a set or individual volumes.

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  1. Rebecca LaBarca
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I agree that professional development is very important. I try to visit museums and attend science lectures at local colleges on my own time. Not only do I enjoy learning more about the world around us but I also find that museums, lectures, and professional development spark more excitement in me to share what I have learned with my students. I feel that all teachers should attend at least one professional development in their content area once a year (if not more often).

  2. Carole Hayward
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great comment! You bring up a good point: There are many different types of professional development for science educators, covering a wide spectrum of costs and time commitment.

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