SPECIAL EDUCATION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A LOOK AT EFFECTIVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE C3 COACHING MODEL
Harydzak, Heather Natasha
MetadataShow full item record
Professional development of teachers is critical in order for educators to not only improve their own performance, but also to help students learn at a greater rate (Darling-Hammond & Richardson, 2009). Research has shown that early childhood educators’ training programs are not effective at helping them to reach the needs of their students and the rising demands being placed on teachers by legislation—e.g. No Child Left Behind. Specifically, early childhood educators are being asked to help students in low socio-economic families, students with disabilities, and bilingual students to close the educational gaps that they typically face when entering school in kindergarten (Landry, Anthony, Swank, & Monseque-Bailey, 2009; U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 2001). Professional development for preschool educators is clearly a need with the current increased demands of policy and the high needs of the students in pre-school. This study specifically focused on early literacy professional development for PPCD teachers or Pre-school Program for Children with Disabilities teachers, who serve students in early childhood education who have disabilities. Quality professional development is crucial to PPCD teachers, as the students they serve typically face great challenges in the skills of early literacy. Research has shown early literacy to be the most crucial content area for young children and an indicator for later success in school and life for these students (Lonigan, Farver, Phillips, & Clancy-Menchetti, 2011; Sheridan et. al., 2009). The aim of this study was to examine professional development literature to determine effective factors of professional development, to examine the C3 Coaching professional development, and to provide a sample action plan of quality professional development. The examination of the C3 Coaching Model included two phases; first survey results on the self-reported impact were examined for the PPCD. The second phase of examination included a document analysis to examine the materials of the C3 Coaching Grant to determine if they were effective and included the factors of effective professional development and effective instruction in early literacy. The results from the survey revealed that the majority of PPCD teaching participants of the C3 Coaching Model were moderately to significantly impacted by the professional development provided to them in the Prekindergarten Summer Awareness Academy. The document analysis also found that the professional development in the C3 Coaching Model was linked to research, including factors such as hands-on learning, content connected to national and state standards, provided materials to participants, provided quality instruction in early literacy concepts, including phonological awareness, the alphabetic principle, and print and book awareness, and other factors of effective professional development. This study also provided an action plan that included a sample professional development plan that incorporated the effective factors of professional development. This study showed evidence that professional development is needed for teachers and that professional development can be effective if the effective factors of professional development are included within it. The C3 Coaching Model proved to be an effective model overall for professional development. These findings concur with Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (2009) who helped establish that professional development was an effective and needed method to help teachers develop and improve their own practice and positively impact their students.