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Quality Indicators for Action Research: Professional Development as a Tool for New Teacher Retention

Posted by Hope Scott on Thursday, August 19, 2010 Under: Action Research

Quality Indicator 1

Context of Study:
PAISD, as well as many other school districts, have a large teacher turn-around rate.  This is due to the fact that new teachers leave the district in record numbers after the first two years in the profession.  This may be from burn-out or frustration.  Sometimes they may feel that the demands are too great or they have no one to talk to for support.  Whatever the cause, I think that effective professional development can help prepare new teachers for the classroom.  This does not just include sitting and listening to someone talk during a brief orientation period.  Nor does it include a rushed, overhead presentation of new technology and a speech on how well it will work in the classroom. This includes giving new teachers the opportunity to learn the technology in a safe environment and the ability to work one-on-one with technology as they learn it.  It also includes having a place where teachers can go to retrieve lessons learned or handouts or other training materials at their convenience.  

Quality Indicator 2

Wonderings and Purpose of Study:

My wondering is how can professional development be used as a tool for new teacher retention?  "Research indicates that a positive work environment may help new teachers feel a greater sense of job satisfaction.  Factors such as time, leadership, professional development, access to resources, and teacher empowerment all exert a significant influence on the degree of satisfaction teachers feel in their jobs."[1] The purpose of the study is to show that if new teachers get the training they need on an ongoing basis they will stay in the profession.  I feel that if new teachers also get support from administrators and veteran teachers they will learn how to survive the classroom and ultimately enjoy the teaching profession.  Many enter the classroom right out of college or from industry.  They do not understand the dynamics of a campus nor the environment of a campus. 

I feel that given adequate training and support, new teachers will embrace the profession and love what they do.  When I worked at Lamar University in the Engineering Department, I learned from one of the department leaders that he left industry so that he could instill in his students what he learned.  He worked as an engineer for NASA in Houston prior to becoming a professor.  He said it took many years to see his work come to fruition at NASA, from design to actually seeing the craft go into space. He said that working at the university level allowed him to see his work live on through what he taught his students.  My mother also loved the profession.  She taught for more than 30 years and became a mentor to many of her former students who became teachers!  New teachers may have the passion, but need the shoulder of a veteran teacher to show them what works and what does not work.

Quality Indicator 3

Data Collection and Data Analysis:

For my study, data collection will be in the form of surveys and questionnaires.  This will be a way to for the participants to say if what is delivered works or not.  All data will be compiled and looked at to help researchers know what needs to be fixed and what needs to be discarded as useless.  Participants will also have the opportunity to send suggestions and request one-on-one help from researchers or others involved in the study. 

Data analysis will be conducted after each meeting and questionnaires are submitted.  This will include looking at responses and placing a value on each as determined by teacher responses.  

Quality Indicator 4

Researcher Learning:

I feel that this research has helped me understand the need for a better approach to professional development.  In many instance, we are given training when we are too tired to listen to what is being taught.  Many technology training sessions are in front of an overhead screen instead of a computer monitor.  I will learn how to help make professional development proactive.  I want to research way that teachers, whether new or veteran, can have access to information online so that they can peruse it at their leisure.

Quality Indicator 5

Implications for Practice:

New teachers deserve support to be successful from their very first day on campus.  Data from the study will be used to implement professional development for new and veteran teachers.  I feel that the research will support my thesis that new teachers can have a greater sense of job satisfaction if they have resources at their disposal that is timely and accessible.  I also feel that mentors can help new teachers by being a role model and a person that the new teacher can go to as their first line of defense and support.  Research will prove that effective professional development will help with new teacher retention.

My principal wants to implement the research at our school this school year.  I do not feel that I am prepared to do this.  I will need time to put many things in place, including creating an online site for the resources.  It is a lot to do in a short time.  By next school year, I feel that it will be in place and ready to use.  I may create a test site, maybe on schoology.com or edmodo.com, where I can try this on a small scale on our campus with the new teachers, with her approval.  Both sites allow discussion and uploads of information.


[1] The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. (2007) Improving Teacher Retention with Supportive Workplace Conditions. Learning Point Associates. Retrieved from http://www.centerforcsri.org/files/TheCenter_NL_June07.pdf

In : Action Research 


Tags: "center for comprehensive school reform and improvement" "quality indicators" 

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Hope Scott I am a Web Technologies teacher. I created this blog as part of my Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership for Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.

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