Teachers' Professional Learning: Role of the Building Leader

Date of Completion

January 2011


Education, Middle School|Education, School Administration|Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Teacher Training




Leaders of school reform acknowledge that the collaborations made possible by forming middle school teachers into teams has done little to enhance teachers' professional development. Using the Trio model of adult learning developed by Sheckley, Kehrhahn, Bell, and Grenier (2008), this interpretive qualitative study explored how supervisory supports and other factors operating within a school contributed to teachers' professional learning. ^ Data were obtained from (a) interviews with a sample of teachers in a middle school setting and (b) a review of evaluations teachers filled out after completing professional development activities. The analysis of this data indicated that (a) building leaders can enhance teachers' professional growth by applying the principles of adult learning to all staff activities; (b) professional learning is enhanced in school environments where building leaders cultivate and promote relationships characterized by respect and trust; (c) building leaders support teachers' learning best when they strategically integrate teacher's learner attributes and organizational goals; (d) leaders improve teachers' perceived coherence of professional development activities through improved communications within teams, departments, and schools; and (e) teachers' professional growth is enhanced when leaders demonstrate their commitment to professional learning as the vehicle to achieve the school's and district's mission.^ Implications for practice are included as suggestions for educational leaders who are seeking ways to develop professional learning opportunities that promote teachers' continuous professional growth and improvement. ^