It is the vision of the Michigan Department of Education and Oakridge Public Schools that quality professional development results in the improvement of student learning. Quality professional development is characterized by meaningful, collegial dialogue that:
- Explores current content knowledge, inquiry learning processes, and student thinking.
- Contributes to a school culture that promotes learning at high levels for both students and educators.
This vision of professional development shows the importance of applying new ideas after acquiring them from a variety of experiences, including conferences, workshops, mentoring, mentorships, and study groups. It defines professional development in the context of educators learning from and with one another for the purpose of facilitating student learning.
The goal of professional development is to help educators acquire or enhance the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs necessary to create high levels of learning for all students.
Members of the school environment learn from one another about how to effectively facilitate student learning. They learn by acquiring new information and by applying it to their work. They learn from one another by sharing ideas about the work they do and talking about which factors have a positive impact on student learning and which do not. They use current research about teaching and learning to study together through meaningful conversation, application of new ideas and reflection in groups of trusted colleagues. These groups of colleagues are called learning communities. Learning communities are guided by data on student learning, research on improved teaching and leadership practices, and state and national curricula standards that indicate what students know and should be able to do. Educators who learn together in learning communities contribute to a school culture in which all learners learn at high levels.
Professional Development Handbook