The Professional Developoment System model being implementated by the Watson College of Education and its university-school partnership in southeastern North Carolina is designed to create more effective learning environments and performance improvements in both public school settings and in teacher education programs.
To accomplish these ends, the efforts must be both
complex and pervasive. The complexity of the Professional Development
System has demanded supporting structures to sustain fluidity and promote
continuity throughout the partnership.
The site seminar is a framework unique to the Watson College of Education’s Professional Development System. It enables important dialogue to occur among educators surrounding critical educational issues not easily resolved on one’s own. Interns are required to attend a specified number of seminars where reflective practices are expected and supported. School partners are encouraged to attend and contribute to the reflective process.
This design feature promotes regular analysis of events and outcomes as they relate to teaching and learning objectives. Such consideration is not commonly available to teachers within the context of normal school settings but is often desired by teachers and has been shown to be a key component in professional growth for teachers at all levels of the profession.
The Watson College has created two Emerging Technology Liaison positions
that engage all partners in technology education and application. This
key component supports technology competence by developing understanding
and use of emerging educational technology. In collaboration with school
district personnel, efforts have involved university faculty, teachers,
site coordinators and principals from all partnership schools in technology-focused
seminars and hands-on technology workshops. The creation of these roles
has allowed university faculty and public school partners to be more
closely aligned in the application of educational technology.
Learn more about the Technology Liaisons >
Cohort grouping of students in field and internship experiences is an important supporting structure. Candidates are placed in cohorts, or groups of peers, during much of the fieldwork and all of the full-time internships to ensure the development of professional support groups for the students and their host educators.
Supporting the belief that adults and children learn best in the context of practice, cohort grouping facilitates regular site seminars during which partnership teachers, interns and university faculty focus on learning and teaching that takes advantage of research and practitioner knowledge and provides a timely structure to discuss day-to-day insights, issues and challenges related to their classroom.
These cohorts also offer an opportunity to apply learning in a supportive environment; develop collegial relationships between partnership teachers, university supervisors, and interns; support reflection and evaluation of growth; and create a forum for fresh perspectives on current teaching practices.