A Case Study of Middle School Teachers' Perceptions of Their Professional Development Experiences With TAP- -The System for Teacher and Student Advancement
This research was undertaken to understand the experiences of teachers using The System for Teacher and Student Advancement (TAP) professional development (PD) methods. The study focused on the perceptions of experienced teachers in their first year in a TAP system school. Five teachers were interviewed and observed in the professional development, (TAP/PD) - meetings during the study. This research provides insight into experiences with a professional development model within a new school improvement system in order to contribute to the literature about professional development. This research addresses the following major questions: a) How did TAP/PD come to be adopted at the selected middle school, and b) What are the perceptions of teachers at a selected middle school of their professional development experiences with TAP/PD? This qualitative study included multiple data collection strategies. Through this case study, teachers were observed during their TAP/PD meetings. They were asked to participate in two to three follow-up interviews after the observations to understand the nature of their experiences with TAP/PD and how professional development in this model compared with their previous experiences with professional development. They were also asked about their perception of the influence of using the TAP/PD learning on their classroom practice, their professional growth, and on their students' achievement. Regular visits to the school community also allowed for the collection of artifacts before, during, and after the author concluded the interview stage at the site. The qualitative analysis of the teachers' experiences of their professional development during their first year of implementation as a TAP system school involved open and axial coding, drawing on all the data sources as well as analytic memos. The findings revealed a) limited administrator participation in TAP/PD meetings or involvement as instructional leaders; b) unclear roles of mentor teachers; c) coaching support that focused mainly on first year teachers, limiting the impact on more experienced teachers such as the study participants; d) blurring of the focus on instructional support by master teachers due to their many duties; e) increased time participating in professional development compared to other models; f) valuable strategies and rubrics supported school-wide learning; and, g) teachers' increased levels of reflection on their classroom practice.
teacher professional development, school improvement systems, TAP system, middle school teachers, teacher training, Tests of Achievement and Proficiency, career development
Womack, D. (2011). A case study of middle school teachers' perceptions of their professional development experiences with TAP- -the system for teacher and student advancement (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.