A Professional Development Proposal for Teaching Writers Workshop:

Using student work to guide instruction

(Sample from a professional development proposal.)

by Brooke Reedlunn

“It is no surprise that great energy is put into high stakes testing in most school districts today, but it is surprising how little energy is put into teacher training to improve student achievement. Student learning is unlikely to change unless teaching changes first, making ongoing teacher training central to improving the education we can provide to our children.

Milan Area Schools, in southeastern Michigan, has made the connection between test scores and teacher education with their current focus on improving student writing.  Milan school district has recognized recent low student performance on MEAP writing tests and in response has offered several professional development days on writing instruction in an effort to increase these scores.

The research based professional development plan that I am presenting will be a more comprehensive extension of the district’s initial efforts to increase student’s capacity as writers by increasing teacher’s knowledge about writing instruction.  Teacher’s knowledge and beliefs about teaching writing are of critical importance because no writing program or assessment device can change the way children learn without a teacher to enact it.  By structuring a learning community of teachers this professional development program will empower teachers to become active learners who are reflective about their practice. In this proposal I will describe the school context where the professional development will be situated, outline a detailed plan of how the professional development will be carried out, and support the design of the plan by grounding it in academic research. “

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