ERIC Identifier: ED335357
Publication Date: 1991-09-00
Author: Abdal-Haqq, Ismat
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teacher Education Washington DC.
Professional Development Schools and Educational Reform:
Concepts and Concerns. ERIC Digest 91-2.
This digest provides an overview of an emerging institution, the professional
development school (PDS), and of its place in improving public schooling.
Conceptually, a PDS is an exemplary, functioning school, generally a public
school, which has as one of its fundamental missions the professional
development of preservice, novice, and practicing teachers. (See ERIC Digest
89-4, The Nature of Professional Development Schools, ED 316 548.)
There are several labels for schools that embody this concept as well as
different views of the scope of PDS activities. A Rand study suggested that
school districts designate certain schools as induction schools to provide
supervised internships for beginning teachers (Wise et al., 1987). The American
Federation of Teachers has implemented pilots of professional practice schools
(Levine, 1988). The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee proposed
legislation, the "Professional Development Academy Establishment Act of 1989,"
which would have funded collaboratives between public schools and higher
education institutions to provide teacher induction, inservice training, and
testing of new teaching techniques (U.S. Congress, 1989). The term professional
development school appears in the 1986 Holmes Group report, Tomorrow's Teachers,
and these schools are the focus of its report, Tomorrow's Schools (Holmes Group,
1990). The Carnegie Report, A Nation Prepared, proposed clinical schools
(Carnegie Forum, 1986). The U.S. Department of Education has included in its FY
1992 budget a proposal calling for funding of a new program, Partnerships for
Innovative Teacher Education. These college/school partnerships would plan and
operate teaching schools that would be analogous to teaching hospitals
(Department Proposes, 1991). Other labels include professional development
center (Clark, 1990), practice school, and partner school (Goodlad, 1990).
Although it incorporates elements of each, a PDS is meant to be more than a
laboratory school, a model school, or a setting for clinical supervision of
novice teachers. It is considered to be a new institution (Holmes, 1990).
Reform literature in recent years has suggested
that public schools as they exist today do not adequately prepare American youth
for their roles as citizens and workers in the twenty-first century (Kennedy,
1990). The structure of many public schools inhibits knowledge-based teaching
practice; as a result, student learning may be inhibited. Since existing schools
provide the setting for field experiences and student teaching, the prevailing
school culture not only fails to promote student learning but also fails to
nourish the development of expertise in preservice and novice teachers (Clark,
1990; Murphy, 1990). In essence, today's schools cannot adequately prepare
PDSs are generally engaged in the process of restructuring. This process may
involve changes in organizational and governance structures; redesign of teacher
work; reallocation of resources; improvements in the processes of teaching and
learning; and changes in the relationships between and among teachers,
administrators, school districts, pupils, parents, and higher education
institutions (Murphy, 1990). The objective of this process is to develop models
or prototypes of exemplary schools with institutional structures that support
improved social and academic learning for pupils and improved practice for
teachers (Kennedy, 1990; Levine, 1988). PDSs are places to determine what works
so that findings can be disseminated to other schools. As such, these schools
are intended to play a pivotal role in restructuring public schooling.
As models of developing best practice, PDSs also become the most effective
locations for clinical training of future teachers. There is considerable
evidence that teachers consider their student or practice teaching experiences
to be the most powerful element in their professional preparation (Goodlad,
1990; Levine, 1988). There is also considerable evidence of the unstructured and
idiosyncratic nature of the general run of such field experiences. The net
result appears to be that the perceived shortcomings of traditional teaching
practice are perpetuated in part by the preservice teacher's initial practice
teaching experience (Levine, 1988; Murphy, 1990). PDSs are envisioned as sites
where structured induction of preservice teachers, as well as continuing
professional development of experienced teachers, is a priority. Therefore, PDSs
play a pivotal role in redesigned and improved pre- and inservice teacher
PRINCIPLES AND GOALS
Although a number of pilot projects
have been undertaken in the past few years, there appears as yet to be no fully
developed PDS. In fact, creators of PDSs often stress that their efforts will
require not only time to bear fruit, in the form of improved teaching practice
and student learning, but also a significant amount of time to reach the level
where they function as planned. What does exist are models of elements of PDSs
and sites that are in the initial planning and implementation stages (Holmes,
1990; Levine, 1988; Pasch & Pugach, 1990). An examination of PDS literature
reveals several common themes with regard to principles and goals.
1. The role of PDSs in improving practice and preparing teachers is analogous
to the role of teaching hospitals in the medical profession (Darling-Hammond,
1989; Goodlad, 1990; Holmes, 1990; Kennedy, 1990; Zimpher, 1990). These schools
are clinical sites where professional standards of practice are developed,
refined, and institutionalized (Darling-Hammond, 1989; Levine, 1988); where
cohorts of teaching interns participate in structured induction programs
(Goodlad, 1990); where both teaching practice and induction are knowledge based
(Darling-Hammond, 1989; Levine, 1988); and where inquiry, research, and
reflection are used to continually test, refine, and expand this knowledge base
(Darling-Hammond, 1989; Holmes, 1990; Kennedy, 1990).
2. At PDS sites the entire school is involved in the induction of the
preservice and the novice teacher, not just a single cooperating or master
teacher (Anderson, in press; Clark, 1990; Goodlad, 1990; Pasch & Pugach,
1990; Zimpher, 1990).
3. PDSs are context oriented; sites should reflect the geographic, ethnic,
and economic diversity of the nation's student population (Holmes, 1990; Pasch
& Pugach, 1990; Zimpher, 1990).
4. The number of designated PDS sites will be relatively small since
preparation and induction of new teachers will not be the mission of most
schools (Holmes, 1990).
5. The establishment and operation of PDSs is the result of collaboration
between universities and local school districts (Holmes, 1990; Kennedy, 1990;
Pasch & Pugach, 1990). In some collaboratives, teachers unions are also
partners (Anderson, in press; Levine, 1988).
1. Many proposed PDS activities and methods may
consume considerable resources (Zimpher, 1990). For example, a collaborative
model of clinical experiences for preservice teachers generally costs both the
university and school district more time, money, and personnel than the
traditional student teaching model (Anderson, in press).
2. Some aspects of university culture inhibit the faculty involvement in
school affairs that is called for in PDS collaboratives. Often teacher education
programs do not enjoy high esteem or priority within schools of education,
especially program activities associated with school-based field experience and
service (Goodlad, 1990). Faculty evaluation systems have not traditionally
rewarded field service by teacher educators at a level on par with other
professorial activities (Kennedy, 1990).
3. Aspects of school culture may also inhibit PDS planning and
implementation. Rosaen and Hoekwater (1990) point out that school culture is
characterized by egalitarian treatment of teachers. Differential treatment, as
reflected in the differentiated staffing plans characteristic of some PDSs, is
sometimes seen as favoritism. Collegial & collaborative inquiry into
practice may also be challenged. "[T]he ethic of social harmony, plus the ethic
of autonomy in the classroom, means that it's extremely difficult, even within a
school, to say nothing of between a school and a university, to really examine
practice together in a serious way" (Kennedy, 1990, p.13).
4. The proposed PDS network would contain relatively few sites; therefore,
preservice teachers may face strong competition for positions as interns. This
potential competition and selectivity raises issues of fairness and equity with
regard to resource allocation and professional access (Zimpher, 1990).
References identified with an EJ or ED number
have been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should
be available at most research libraries; documents (ED) are available in ERIC
microfiche collections at more than 700 locations. Documents can also be ordered
through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service: (800) 433-ERIC. References
followed by an SP number were being processed for the ERIC database at the time
of publication. For more information contact the ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher
Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20036-1186; (202)
Anderson, C. R., (Ed.). (in press). "Voices" from the Clinical Schools
Project. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. (1986). A nation prepared:
Teachers for the 21st century. Washington: Author. ED 268 120
Clark, R. W. (1990). What school leaders can do to help change teacher
education. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher
Darling-Hammond, L. (1989). Accountability for professional practice.
Teachers College Record, 91(1), 59-80. EJ 398 426
Department proposes HEA Title V plan to Congress; Seeks $20 million for new
Teacher Education Partnerships. (1991, August 1). Teacher Education Reports, p.
Goodlad, J. (1990). Teachers for our nation's schools. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass. SP 032 960
Holmes Group. (1990). Tomorrow's schools: Principles for the design of
professional development schools. East Lansing, MI: Author. SP 032 871
Kennedy, M. M. (1990). Professional development schools. NCRTE Colloquy,
3(2). SP 032 752
Levine, M. (Ed.). (1988). Professional practice schools: Building a model.
Washington: American Federation of Teachers. ED 313 344
Murphy, J. (1990). Helping teachers prepare to work in restructured schools.
Journal of Teacher Education, 41(4), 50-56. SP 520 216
Pasch, S. H., & Pugach, M. C. (1990). Collaborative planning for urban
professional development schools. Contemporary Education, 61(3), 135-143. SP 520
Rosaen, C. L., & Hoekwater, E. (1990). Collaboration: Empowering
educators to take charge. Contemporary Education. 61(3), 144-151. SP 520 135
U.S. Congress. (1989). Senate. Committee on Labor and Human Resources. A bill
to provide financial assistance for teacher recruitment and training, and for
other purposes. (S. 1675). ED 323 205
Wise, A. E., Darling-Hammond, L., Berry, B., Berliner, D., Haller, E.,
Praskac, A., & Schlechty, P. (1987). Effective teacher selection: From
recruitment to retention (Rep. No. R-3462-NIE/CSTP). Santa Monica, CA: Rand
Corporation. ED 282 840
Zimpher, N. (1990). Creating professional development school sites. Theory
into Practice, 29(1), 42-49. SP 520 040