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A Call for Transforming Professional Learning

by Debra Lebo and Ijumaa Jordan
November/December 2017
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-call-for-transforming-professional-learning/5023864/

Recent years have seen a huge growth in attention to and funding of early childhood teachers’ professional development. In the midst of these reform efforts, we find it shocking to see how little attention is being given to teachers’ actual learning processes. In our work, we see that most professional development offerings are fragmented two- or three-hour workshops delivered with teachers as passive recipients of others’ knowledge. Content includes tricks and tips to help educators fill out assessment tools, one-sided sharing of information needed to fulfill new standards, or crafty make-and-takes. There is very little time and funding dedicated to supporting teachers’ intellectual and emotional lives. There is no consistent, regularly scheduled time for teachers to reflect, think, and analyze their practice. In the rare instances when coaching is offered to teachers, the focus is often remedial: technical assistance for quick-fixing teachers’ unsatisfactory practice, rather than any investment in the ongoing process of teacher reflection and transformation.

Professional development is often focused on children’s compliance or teachers’ own compliance with new standards and regulations. A low image of children, teaching, and teachers is at the root of this learning model. Reforms that work from this low image of teachers are even ...

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