From a post last week where I continued to refine my research question:
How does continuity of study (ie, a PD sequence rather than a one-off workshop) affect implementation?
Is there an ideal timing? How often (in a series) seems to be effective?
What does the interim look like in between workshops?
Are volunteers more likely to implement training? Or are groups, even if they're elected to come by leadership?
How does the group dynamic affect buy in or implementation after the fact? Would establishing norms at the outset remove stigma?
I thought I was going to use, "How can my role effect change through professional development?" which isn't a great question for research. It's good for reflection, but it's too specific to me and not great for sharing in a collaborative environment (my team, for example).
Based on some of my literature research, I'm going to broaden back out to generalizing PD structures as a practice rather than focusing on my own role within those structures. Right now, I'm thinking:
How will aligning our professional development programs to goal-oriented frameworks affect implementation by participants?
I'm feeling good about this question for a few reasons:
- Much of my day to day work is with individual teachers. They often have a larger focus and I spend my time helping those teachers find solutions or methods to reach those goals.
- I am involved in building-level discussions through departments or administrators. It isn't as frequent as one-on-one contact with teachers, but I do work with administrators to help their staff reach collective goals.
- My team is housed at the district level, not individual schools. My involvement at the highest level eventually trickles down to buildings and individual classrooms.
We've never done a full, research-based survey on the PD activities we offer in order to evaluate whether or not our work is effective in changing instruction at any given level. Using academic research for a guide, we can begin to evaluate and categorize our work in view of larger goals. Hopefully, we are able to identify patterns, strengths, and weaknesses as individuals and as a team as we begin planning for next year's programs.