Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Anders, P. L., & Richardson, V. (1991). Research directions: Staff development that empowers teachers' reflections and enhances instruction. Language Arts, 68, 316-320.

Anders and Richardson explored the barriers to teachers' use of research-based practice in reading comprehension. They created an environment that encouraged teachers to consider their own explanations for classroom practices and relate those to explanations found in current research. They met with the teachers in individual and study group sessions. The groups evolved through an "introductory" stage (the teachers learned about each other), a "break-through" stage (one or more of the participants moved to a new way of thinking about the topic), and finally to the "empowerment" stage (the teachers claimed ownership of the staff development itself). The authors noted that the involvement of the teachers was significantly greater when the group was involved in dialogue than when they were presented with information. The authors sensed that the teachers were touched at a deeper, more concrete level during the dialogue sessions and may have been more induced to change their ideas. Their findings indicate that research methods and concepts play a small role in the larger picture of teaching, so the importance of research-based practice was often lost to other issues. In their concluding remarks, the authors suggest that there has not been enough research to determine the effectiveness of study groups as professional development, but the results in this study suggest that this process has the possibility of being an effective strategy to improving teaching and learning.

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