Teacher Development Notes

McNergney, R. F., & Carrier, C. A. (1981). Teacher development. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, Inc.


  • The dilemma of supervision being seen as evaluation: "This has often resulted in what might be generously termed supervisory mishmash: 'sort of' supporting and 'sort of' evaluating (p. viii)."
  • "Genuine teacher growth is not possible without evaluation, but evaluation is not sufficient in and of itself to effect teacher growth (p. viii)." (MY THOUGHTS - I would wonder who is the evaluator. I could agree with this statement if the teacher were evaluating his/her performance in order to grow, but I think that external evaluation could stifle growth. So...there are two types of evaluation - internal meaning being within the teacher and external meaning being done by someone else???).



  • Message of book: Because teachers are individuals, supervision should be differentiated to meet their needs.



Chapter 6: Teacher Developmental Environments

  • "Instead, they (teacher educators) must recognize that even the best teachers are different and that supporting their development calls for planned variations in educational environments that complement teacher capabilities (p. 177)."


Environmental Scope

  • "Therefore, the optimum environment for planned teacher development would be one of medium scope and not so inclusive as programs of teacher development or so exclusive as activities designed for development of minute skills (p. 178)."
  • "If the processes of teacher development are to better understood and ultimately effected, they need to be applied on a teacher-by-teacher, classroom-by-classroom basis (p. 178)."
  • "When teacher development occurs at the classroom level, the chances for integrating theory and research on teacher development with the actual practice of teaching are greatly improved (p. 178)."
  • (MY THOUGHTS - What is the scope of a PDA? Does the type of PDA meaning hybrid, faculty member, or graduate student affect the scope? I would say yes.)
  • "At different times, teacher educators must be able to create and manage environments that vary in scope (p. 180)."
  • "In general, however, teacher educators can support teachers and help them grow in the performance of personal and instructional classroom tasks by creating environments that directly address life in the classroom - environments that fit the typical activities of classroom teaching and learning (p. 180)."


Characteristics of Teacher Developmental Environments

  • Teacher developmental environments should be designed to foster teacher growth. Designing such environments involves including six characteristics:

    • Objectives
    • Procedures
    • Support System
    • Management Strategy
    • Provisions for Evaluation
  • "But unlike many teacher educational environments, developmental environments are intended to systematically accommodate differences among teachers and their teaching situations (p. 180)." (MY THOUGHTS - Shouldn't the developmental environment include the school and district in which the teacher works? Therefore, the teacher educator would not have complete control over the creation of the environment; instead s/he would have influence over it.)


Teacher Developmental Objectives

  • "As discussed earlier, teacher developmental objectives, or more specific goal statements, may be seen in terms of demands (simple or complex) and focus (personal needs or instructional needs) (p. 181)."
  • Accomplishing complex personal tasks: "Because they encourage internal change, the accomplishment of these tasks involves performing a variety of behaviors over an extended period of time (p. 181)."
  • Complex tasks require more time to accomplish than simple tasks.


Environmental Procedures

  • Pre-planning

    • This phase is for teacher educators only. It involves planning for the cycles of clinical supervision.
    • The 3 Rs (MY acronym): Reflecting, Reviewing, Recollecting
    • "Reflection allows the teacher educator to adapt strategies that accommodate the teacher's individual needs (p. 182)."
  • Pre-observation Conference

    • Renewing relationships b/w teacher educator and teacher
    • Encouraging collaboration
    • "The need to review the specifics of a teacher's instructional plans will depend on such factors as the teacher's experience, the complexity of the skills involved, and the amount of time available for conferencing (p. 183)."
  • Collecting and Analyzing Classroom Observational Data

    • "Suggesting ways in which the data confirm or contradict hypotheses about the usefulness of particular strategies is an important interpretive function of the teacher educator's feedback to the teacher (p. 184)." (MY THOUGHTS - I would argue though that it is more powerful for the teacher to make the interpretations rather than the teacher educator.)
  • Post-observation Conference

    • "The first is to share information and perceptions, and the second is to work out future directions. As mentioned earlier, this feedback conference should occur only after the teacher educator has examined and organized the data acquired from observation (p. 184)." (MY THOUGHTS - Yes! But NOT interpreted!!!)
    • The focus is on the future.


Environmental Support Systems

  • "In terms of personal resources, teacher educators can draw upon what they know (knowledge base), what they know how to do (skills), and what they feel or believe (attitudes) to provide direction for structuring environments to help teachers move from lower to higher levels of proficiency (p. 185)."
  • Personal Resources: Skills, Knowledge, and Attitudes of Teacher Educators

    • Teacher educator knowledge involves knowledge about: (1) Current research (2) Teacher tasks that they are required to perform (3) Required performance behaviors of teachers (4) Various strategies to support teacher growth and development
    • "Aside from knowledge about teachers, tasks, and behaviors, a major skill required of the teacher educator is the ability to apply this knowledge to the design of effective environments (p. 185)."
    • Teacher educators must be good listeners and observers.
    • "Because attitudes often affect behaviors, a teacher educator's attitudes will shape the quality of the environment he or she provides for teachers (p. 186)."
    • "It is especially important that teacher educators recognize and respect the individuality of the teachers with whom they work (p. 186)."
    • "It is also important for teacher educators to recognize that teachers may and should be expected to do things differently (p. 186)."
  • External Resources: Other Persons and Materials

    • Teacher educators are connectors, connecting teachers with other resources including people and materials. In order to be connectors, teacher educators must have knowledge about other teachers and materials. An awareness of the external resources is essential in order for connections to be made. (MY THOUGHTS - What knowledge do hybrids bring and develop over the course of their PDAship?)
    • "Teacher educators may also help teachers work together while providing observation skills training or suggestions for giving feedback to others about their performance (p. 187)."


Environmental Management Strategies

  • The term environmental management strategies refers to how decisions are made in the environment (p. 188)."
  • Three management strategies include teacher-directed, teacher educator-directed, or shared/negotiated.
  • Teacher-Directed Strategy

    • "In teacher-directed environments, teachers have the major responsibility for controlling and managing their own learning. Working with teacher educators, they take the initiative in raising issues for discussion, selecting personal or instructional tasks to be worked on, and suggesting how their performance might be assessed (p. 189)."
    • Inductive
    • Positives: "Proponents of inductive methods also believe that this extra personal effort enhances the learner's attention and increases the value of the task in the learner's eyes (p. 189)."
    • Negatives: "An opposite view holds that teacher-directed or inductive trial-and-error strategies may not only be inefficient and time-consuming but also require that the learner possess some initial degree of motivation to make inferences - a condition that my not be true in all cases (p. 189)."
    • Role of Teacher educator = facilitator
    • "One function of the teacher educator in the teacher-directed management strategy is to allow teachers to make their own decisions about such issues as student characteristics, behavioral outcomes, and teaching environments (p. 190)."
    • Teacher is active, constructor of knowledge through experience.
  • Teacher Educator-Directed Strategy

    • "The teacher educator is the primary source of control for the organization of teacher learning and assumes major responsibility for the quantity and quality of decisions made in a teaching episode (p. 190)."
    • Teacher is passive, receiver of information
    • Efficient
    • Positives/Negatives: "Didactic approaches, according to proponents, are more efficient than trial-and-error methods because they require less time to accomplish a goal. They also point out that such strategies reduce chances of frustration and failure because guidance better prepares persons to face new and challenging situations. Opponents argue that didactic approaches smother incentive, increase dependence on external authority, and encourage passivity (p. 191)."
  • Negotiated or Shared Strategies

    • "A negotiated or shared strategy should guide teachers when they would benefit from direction but also encourage teachers to make those decisions that they can make themselves (p. 192)."
    • "That is, both teacher and teacher educator must actively engage in critical, honest appraisals of their own and each other's perceptions as well as the assumptions upon which their decisions are based (p. 192)."


Provisions for Environmental Evaluation

  • "Provisions for environmental evaluation refers to the methods a teacher educator employs to gather information about the effects of the environment (p. 192)."
  • "Each environment must be judged in terms of its success in helping each teacher meet his or her own needs, whether simple or complex, personal or instructional (p. 192)."
  • Using Teacher Outcomes to Assess Environments

    • Evaluation can happen through observation, tests, and surveys of attitudes
    • "Logs can record the reactions of teachers to sessions with the teacher educator and activities in which they engage while working on particular objectives (p. 193)."
  • Using Student Outcomes to Assess Environments

    • "Another way to assess the effectiveness of the developmental environment is to observe specific student responses to new behaviors demonstrated by the teacher. Although they may not be directly related to achievement, these responses may indicate changes in attention, level of participation, or in the atmosphere of the classroom (p. 194)."
  • Using Teacher Educator Outcomes to Assess Environments

    • "The teacher educator's knowledge about teacher characteristics, tasks, and behaviors not only assists the selection of appropriate objectives but helps to evaluate how effective the environment has been in helping a teacher meet these objectives. The scope and quality of information that the teacher educator can assimilate on a teacher's performance will be determined by the educator's knowledge of assessment methods and skill in applying them (p. 195)."
    • Blumberg & Amidon (1965): Supervisors and supervisees perceive their relationship differently. Supervisors have a higher perception of the productivity and functioning of the relationship that the supervisee