Joyce, Bennett, & Rolheiser-Bennett The Self Educating Teacher

Joyce, B., Bennett, B., & Rolheiser-Bennett, C. (1990). The self-educating teacher: Empowering teachers through research.  In Changing school culture through staff development: The 1990 ASCD yearbook. (pp. 26-40). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.


Basic Summary:

            This article explores research on professional development for teachers and also lists some calls for research.

Text Box: Dev’t Theory

  • General motivation to learn can be more important in determining a teacher’s buy-in than the overall appeal of the content.
  • “It may be that helping persons develop competence and then judging the content will be a better course of action than trying to persuade people to “buy in” on the basis of superficial impressions (p. 28).”

Text Box: PDMirrors for Behavior

  • “If people can conceptualize their clinical performance, they will use the information to set goals for increasing their competence (p. 28).”
  • Instrument-Driven Feedback

    • The general body of research/literature consensus is that instrument-driven feedback did not result in changes in teacher behavior at a substantial enough level.
  • Nondirective Clinical Feedback
  • Text Box: PDStructured Clinical Supervision

    • “The entire field of clinical support of teachers, whether by peers, supervisors, or principals, badly needs study, particularly because it is by far the largest component of staff development in most districts, and its theoretical structure is attractive to district policy makers (p. 30).”


Research on Training

  • Text Box: PDFor training purposes, traditionally videotape has been used to demonstrate teaching skills. After taping themselves, teachers would then use that information and compare it to the masterful demonstration films.
  • In order for teachers to develop a deep understanding and incorporate a high level of use of learned innovations, follow-up activities to training experiences need to be substantial.


The Workplace as Teacher

  • Text Box: Change TheoryText Box: Dev’t TheoryRobert Schaefer in 1967 called for “schools that would not only involve students in academic inquiry but involve the teachers in the continuous study of teaching and learning. Experimentation with teaching would be a normal, shared activity as the teachers developed new procedures and instructional materials and tried them out (p. 33).”
  • Text Box: LO/PDSIn order to have substantial impact, organizational changes must be more than just cosmetic ones.
  • “Given the contemporary concern with improving the productivity of schools for learns and creating improved workplaces for teachers, and the rather striking evidence that differences in the culture of schools, in fact, do affect student learning and teacher productivity and well being, it seems curious that we lack research on how to bring out changes in those cultures (p.35[cp1] ).”
  • Impact on change can be temporary, but we are lacking research on long-lasting or even permanent change to practice from professional development experiences.


Some Other Topics

  • Voluntarism, governance, site, trainer credibility, and timing are all topics that have little if any research about them.
  • Text Box: Change Theory“The widespread assumption that voluntarism increase both motivation and the likelihood to use the content of training has not been tested by its chief advocates. If it turns out that psychological states greatly determine who will volunteer and who within that group will follow up on their training, the whole issue may have to be rethought from a different perspective. The ‘commitment follows competence’ thesis should also affect thinking on the issue (p. 35).”
  • “Another commonly discussed issue is whether the role designation brings credibility (the familiar notion that teachers prefer learning from other teachers) (p. 36).” Is this statement true? It’s a call for research.

    • Text Box: PD“Competence of the individual will probably override role. Members of all types of formal role groups have been good and poor trainers (p. 36).” (Is there research to support this claim? None was listed.)
  • “Some of the most dramatic effects from staff development programs have been achieved when research personnel and university professors have been the agents of training (p. 36).” What happens when we add another level of teachers helping teachers in professional development?


Underanalyzed Sources of Information

  • Most reported research existed previously on training. One study (Sharan and Shachar 1988) did report on training but their results were reported “in terms of the degrees of executive control their teachers reach(ed) (p. 37).”



Resources Quoted:

  • The Sharan and Shachar 1988 study was not listed as a resource in the reference section.



 [cp1]Like concentric ripples in the water…