Developing a Professional Development Collaboratory: August 18-31, 2008

Professional Development Definition and community writ large

Professional Development Definition and community writ large

by Paul Beaufait -
Number of replies: 3
On the current seminar wiki that Sylvia created, and used initially for harvesting ideas and suggestions from introductory posts; Nancy shares a definition of professional development from a State of Wisconsin web page:

Professional development is a continuous learning process across all levels of education for the entire learning community. Quality professional development expands the capacity of the learning community to realize its vision and reach its goals.
(State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Characteristics of Successful Schools, Chapter 1, Professional Development, Definition, ΒΆ1).

On first glance, that definition looks as though it embraces all that the colloboratory we're in the process of discussing does, or envisions doing.

However, closer examination of that definition in context reveals direct references to community members including only staff and students, when even local educational communities would ordinarily comprise administrators, parents, and elected political leaders, too--community members to whom "accountability measures for changing practices" may refer indirectly.

How adequate, fitting, or sufficient do you suppose a generic, public-sector, school-level definition of professional development is for purposes of envisioning and underpinning development of a collaboratory that is provincial (or larger) in scope?
In reply to Paul Beaufait

Re: Professional Development Definition and community writ large

by Paul Beaufait -
On the wiki, someone removed part of the original Wisconsin State Superintendent's definition of professional development that I recited here. Though the original reads "all levels of education," the definition on the wiki now refers to an unspecified or genericized institution:

"Professional development is a continuous learning process across all levels of ... (?the institution) for the entire learning community. Quality professional development expands the capacity of the learning community to realize its vision and reach its goals" (http://dpi.wi.gov/cssch/cssprofdev1.html).

If "the institution" means the collaboratory, the definition as altered suggests containment and leveling within the institution itself, doesn't it?
In reply to Paul Beaufait

Re: Professional Development Definition and community writ large

by Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers -
Hi Paul,
Although I agree that it means this -- I am reflecting on the words --"containment and leveling within ..." because although I get that there are implicit parameters of containment -- I'm not at all clear on what these are. Also, leveling -- as in leveling the playing field -- seems somewhat grandiose -- although with great intentions -- and I find myself feeling a bit hesitant to breathe -- holding with a feeling of doubt -- but hopeful -- wondering while holding that doubt within myself ... still for a few moments -- how to embrace the ever changing information, filtering at many levels, resynthesizing what is being birthed or formed here.

My body wants to breathe inward and outward and again I breathe inward -- as I make room for new paradigms or complexities within PD learning. There seems to be a "trans" place -- of post-post-modernism -- not so easily defined, but okay -- more stirrings, sharings, shiftings, and becomings. Jo Ann
In reply to Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers

Re: Professional Development Definition and community writ large

by Paul Beaufait -
Thank you, Jo Ann, for taking a breather, resynthesizing doubt and hope.

In retrospect, I believe that "all levels" in the original definition that Nancy posted may have been referring to K-12 units (and beyond), and their constituent institutional hierarchies, within the State of Wisconsin. In comparison, Paul Stacey's introductory post in this forum (Developing a Professional Development Collaboratory: August 18-31, 2008) illuminates the current scenario. It seems to peg the scope of the collaboratory that we've been envisioning as public-sector, post-secondary, professional development in BC.

There undoubtedly is deeper background than meets the eye in this forum. Nevertheless, the current project may well strive to avoid or reduce organizational and collaborative complexity in efforts to develop and operate a unified website. Nancy's inaugural post does hold hope for broadly embracing new paradigms.

Thanks again, to all, for cooperatively engaging in sussing them out.