ED 506 Research Proposal

Katie McFarland

Personalized Professional Development: Impact of Self Directed Professional Development on classroom instruction.


Long before No Child Left Behind legislation took effect, researchers were examining teacher preparedness, effectiveness, and continued professional learning. How professional development has been delivered had changed very little until recent years. Much of the research has focused on the work of Malcolm Knowles theory of adult learning known as andragogy. Many of the current studies focus on ways in which to administer professional development or "best practices." A large gap in research exists in the areas of sustained impact on teacher instruction, transfer into the classroom and most important in the work of Knowles is teacher choice. This research project will begin to examine faculty in a K-12 School District in which teachers are given the opportunity to personalize their professional development experiences. Participants will document personal learning, be interviewed, and analyze data alongside the researcher in order to determine effectiveness and impact on instruction. This research will provide other state and local K-12 school districts data to determine better ways in which to provide staff with meaningful and motivating professional learning experiences.

Theoretical Framework- Grounded in:

Sociocultural Theory (Vygotsky)-Focuses on the interaction between developing people and the culture in which they live.

Andragogy (Knowles)- "derived from aner, meaning "man, not boy and agogus meaning leader" and it is defined as "the art and science of helping adults learn" (Knowles, 1968.)

Qualitative Study

Sample will consist of volunteer participants in two K-12 school districts in Western New York. One a suburban and the other considered rural. Participants will be interviewed by researcher along with personal reflections and observations. One additional data source making this study unique will be use of teacher observation and evaluation as part of data collected.

Limitations and Implications

Limitations- voulntary participation may lead to small sample size, unwillingness to share observation data may limit ability to determine objectivity in the area of teacher implementation

Implications- open up conversations among K-12 district administrators to allow teachers to design pd experiences, could lead to potential change in legislation if proves to impact teacher effectiveness