CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION
The influence of effective teachers upon student academic achievement has long been recognized as a positive factor (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Joyce, Hersh, & McKibbin, 1983; Hargreaves & Fullan (Eds.), 1992; Hord, 1994). Over time, continuity of certain teaching practices and changes in teaching have evolved (Cuban, 1984; Johnson, Musial, Hall, Gollnick, & DuPuis, 1996) as teaching approaches reflected the philosophies and needs of the mainstream culture. The impact of high quality teaching upon student achievement is continually under close scrutiny as the focus of all stakeholders in education remains on school improvement with concerns about assessment of student learning, standardized testing, and annual yearly progress for all K-12 students. The latest research continues to show that teacher quality affects student achievement (Hord, 2009; Quick, Holtzman & Chaney, 2009; Scribner, Sawyer, Watson, & Myers, 2007; Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009).
Professional development is a contributing factor in keeping high quality teachers in active and productive teaching careers, and it these high quality teachers who have the most positive impact on student academic achievement (Darling-Hammond & Sykes, (Eds.), 1995; Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Joyce & Showers, 2002; Marzano, 2007; Showers, Joyce, & Bennett, 1987; Wei, Darling Hammond, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos., 2009). A recently published study by Wei, et al. addressed professional learning on a national scale and presented detailed information about teachers’ continuing education practices and participation in professional development. In this first status report of a multi-year study about the professional development of teachers, (Wei, et al.), data revealed that “job-embedded collaborative professional learning that is most effective is not a common feature across most states, districts, and schools in the U.S.” (p. iii).
Statement of Problem
A review of professional development has revealed low motivation of a number of teachers to actively participate in professional development programs as these programs are currently presented. Studies have corroborated findings that well qualified teachers have a positive impact on student achievement (Darling-Hammond, 2000). Yet, active and engaged participation by teachers in professional development at the school level still needs to be enhanced (Wei, et al., 2009).
Entering the teaching profession is a highly...