156 Keeping the professionalism in professional development of teachers

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Alejandro Gallard, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro, GA; and A. Kaepplinger and P. Ruscher

Current teaching materials developed by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) lend themselves to the professionalism of a teacher. Specifically, these materials are designed to allow the teacher to develop their own pedagogical theories instead of a cookbook or step-by-step approach mandated from the top-down. When the cookbook method is applied, the teacher has to follow a set of directions explicitly, which does not allow the teacher to make their own decisions about the curriculum in their classrooms. The implications of deprofessionalization are many including not meeting the needs of students. Another example provided by both Malmberg (2012) and Roessler and Dentzau (2012) is that top-down approaches to professional development devalue a teacher by effectively reducing them to the role of an avatar fulfilling the wishes of higher-ups in a virtual reality of the education contextual factors that teachers in general and science teachers in particular must deal with on a daily basis. It is no small wonder that there is an underrepresented population in the STEM fields, as students in these classes have very complex learning needs, requiring much individualized attention. As a result when a teacher uses a cookbook approach, they do not allow themselves the opportunity to make their own decisions as to what can work in their classroom or even modify the curriculum. We argue that introducing the use of the materials that the AMS has developed, will allow a teacher to meet all students individual needs, develop their own curriculum and grow as a teacher without having to introduce an outside expert. If a school district can reduce the amount of time dedicated to outside professional development intervention, and focus more on assisting educators in developing their own expertise, the quality of classroom materials and therefore the quality of the education experience the students receive will be improved.
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