Secondary teachers' attitudes and beliefs toward staff development.
Author(s)Hawke, Laurie McEdwards.
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AbstractThis descriptive study was undertaken for the primary purpose of identifying attitudes and beliefs of secondary teachers toward staff development. Participants in the study included the total population of teachers in two high schools in a southwestern school district. The objectives of the study were to identify the attitudes and beliefs of teachers toward staff development as an important part of their professional growth, and toward the organization, processes, and personnel involved in staff development. Also to be identified were the level of knowledge and interest teachers have of specific topics for staff development programs, and similarities/differences in teachers' attitudes based on school, department, number of years teaching experience, education level, participation in a career ladder program, and gender. The data was collected using a two-part, modified Likert scale questionnaire. The findings of the study suggest that the teachers from the school itself should plan staff development, including the content which should be based on the teachers' needs as determined from an open-ended questionnaire, and that the instructors should be teachers from the school or the school's administrators. Staff development programs should incorporate a variety of teaching methods, although lecture was rated as the least desirable single method by the teachers. Staff development should be regular and on-going, with quarterly sessions receiving the most agreement from the teachers. It should be held at the school itself, during released time, and job-related. The teachers agreed that staff development should be evaluated throughout the school year, by the teachers, assessing whether its objectives had been met. Participation should not be mandatory, but depend upon the content of the program and the needs of the individual. Incentives to participate should include the intrinsic value of improved teaching ability, salary increases, university credit, and increased student achievement. Finally, over seventy percent of the teachers agreed that staff development is an important part of their professional growth.