Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
Open Circle Plan Projects Share Work Publish
Close Circle Overview

Professional Development of Teachers

Learning Circle participation helps redesign student learning environments. At the same time it facilitates collaboration among educators extending their professional development and providing access to distributed resources. It places teachers in a central role in designing and facilitating education. This teamwork among teachers in the service of school reform is one of the most rewarding developments of Learning Circle participation.

A sample of teachers were asked to rate the effects of Learning Circle participation on many different aspects of student learning and on their own professional development. For student skills the range of average scores was high --3.7 to 4.2 on a 5 point scale. When asked to rate the effects of participation on their professional development, their average response was 4.4 on a 5 point scale, higher than their assessment of than any of the student outcomes. This finding indicates that teachers valued the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. The team teaching arrangement resulted in many discussions of educational issues with teachers who have access to very different resources and information. The diffusion of good ideas moved rapidly across district, state, national and international boundaries as teachers compare notes on what changes have or are taking place in their schools.

Professional development is the effort to keep up with current developments in the field. This form of close interaction with a continually shifting set of teachers is a powerful way for teachers to gain first hand knowledge of the practice of teaching in a world-wide educational community.



Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel