Hunter Thoughts on Staff Development

Hunter, M. (1990). Thoughts on staff development. In Changing school culture through staff development: The 1990 ASCD yearbook. (pp. xi – xiv). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


Basic Summary:

Madeline Hunter offers her insight on staff development. It also provides a rationale for our work!


A profession is defined as having the following characteristics:

  • Dev’t Theory

    Has a “core of research-based knowledge not possess by those outside (the) profession (p. xii).”

  • The individuals need to be decision makers.
  • Change Theory

    “All principles of learning and methodologies are subject to teacher judgment. There are no absolutes in teaching. The only thing an educator must always do is think, using research-validated principles, emerging data, and intuition (page xii).”

  • Life-long learners constantly working on refining their practice for their clients.
  • “Doing what is appropriate for this client in this situation to achieve this outcome and doing it with artistry is the hallmark of a professional (p. xiv).”





  • PD

    The impact of staff development on teacher attitudes, beliefs, and learning styles is indirect. Teachers’ professional skills directly impact self-esteem, eagerness to learn, and general outlook on life. By impacting professional skills, staff development can indirectly influence teacher attitudes, beliefs, and learning styles.

  • Hunter’s wishes for staff development:

    • LO/PDS

      A partnership between research and practice is needed and is long overdue[cp1] [cp2]

    • For certification requirements, a set of core knowledge and skills needs to be identified.[cp3]
    • The human brain is complex. The quest for a simple solution in understanding such a complex entity needs to be ended.

      • “Turf wars (over the one best strategy) only dilute our effectiveness (p. xiii).”
    • PD



      “All educational personnel with a responsibility for improving the quality of teaching would be equipped, at the time of their certification (something not happening) with the skills of analyzing observed teaching performance and delivering growth-evoking feedback that has a measurable outcome in future performance (p. xiv).”[cp4]

    • “The expectation for continuing professional growth would be ubiquitous to all educators regardless of their status (p. xiv).”[cp5]
    • “It (continuing professional growth) implies rigor in the preparation and ongoing growth of a present-day educator (p. xiv).”


  • Doctor Analogy:

    • “Each (strategy) has its specific function in the educational pharmacy from which the professional determines the best prescription for this student in this situation at this time (p. xiii).”[cp6]


 [cp1]Could the PDS fulfill this gap?

 [cp2]This statement implies that research is external. What if research were internal and PD was the mechanism through which research occurs???  Our plan? The PDS?

 [cp3]This statement implies that we can agree on such a concept. Look at the issues with curriculum when people must agree on common knowledge/standards.

 [cp4]Do we see this productive commentary on professional practice happening in the PDS? Is this a characteristic of a true learning community?

 [cp5]Again, are we seeing a stance towards inquiry in the PDS? What about Marybeth’s dissertation???

 [cp6]This analogy could be quite useful, especially since Shulman makes connections between educational and law and medical professions.