Investigating and Improving Designs for Supporting Professional Development Facilitators’ Learning
This dissertation reports on a retrospective analysis of a design study conducted in partnership between researchers and the leaders of a large U.S. urban district to investigate and support the development of professional development (PD) facilitators. The intent of the study was to examine what PD facilitators need to know and be able to do in order to design and implement high-quality professional development (HQPD), and to test and improve a design for supporting the development of this expertise. HQPD refers to PD that has the potential to support teachers in significantly reorganizing their current practice in order to develop inquiry-oriented teaching practices that support all students’ engagement in rigorous disciplinary activity. This design study is a case of supporting the development of district capacity to provide HQPD for teachers by supporting the development of content specific PD facilitation practices. In reporting on this design study, I describe the work of developing, testing, and revising conjectures about both the PD facilitators’ learning process and effective means of supporting that learning. In reporting this work, I contribute to developing theories about how to support PD facilitators’ learning more generally. My analysis provides a rationale for proposed revisions to the design for PD facilitators’ learning that can be examined in future research.