Term Paper: Roanoke County School System Faculty

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[. . .] The school system should see increased school district wide participation. However, the current PTD participation continues to suffer from severe lack of interest.

Roanoke county is not the only county experiencing challenges in the area of PTD involvement. For the last thirteen years the Collaborative Teacher Education Program at Indiana University (CTEP) has been offering continuing education courses by distance education to teachers in rural communities. The program is comprehensive in that it enables inservice teachers to obtain teaching licenses and master's degrees without coming to campus. The primary mode of course delivery is videoconferencing, but Web-based conferencing and instruction has also been integrated into the program to help promote ownership and collegiality among the teachers. They have also added a completely Web-based course to our program catalog.

Participants in these courses are teachers, administrators, and other in service professionals in rural communities who have difficulty accessing course work in traditional campus-based settings. They meet live, in groups of 10 to 25 once a week in centrally-located distant sites, where they are linked to campus-based instructors in a video conference. Each class session involves two remote sites. The activities stress learner interaction across sites. / sysproc/logclick.cfm?adid=362&page=/magazine/vault/A2868A.cfmBetween classes, the teachers complete field-based activities focused on their actual school situations. They share their work and discuss course content using Web-based conferencing and e-mail. The conferencing tool used is Alta Vista Forums (AVF), which is supported by the technology infrastructure at Indiana University. AVF offers a robust Web-based platform for discussions and document sharing, and allows the teachers to work together both in small teams and in large groups. They use this tool to discuss course concepts, to share work experiences, and to offer one another suggestions for carrying out assignments and improving teaching practices.

This example of successful presentation of on online PTD identifies the final component necessary to administer a successful program. A school system, and it's staff are not only an instructional factory, in which children are systematically exposed to instructional input, and are manufactured into educated young adults. A school is a learning organizism which lives and breathes from the interactive relationship of the staff with their students. The school is a learning organization, not an instructional institution.

Watkins and Marsick (1994) define a learning organization as one that continuously learns and transforms itself. Garvin (1993) defines a learning organization as one that is skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights. Bencivenga (1995) states that a learning organization is developing shared vision, challenging assumptions, and devising a system for new ideas. The Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (Garvin, 1993) sums up a learning organization as a process in which every employee is dedicated to constant learning, learning that advances the individual career as well as the organization's business goals. A learning organization of this genre is what every school hopes to be, and every teacher hopes to be a part of.

Without a concrete definition of what make up a learning organization, these esoteric descriptions are diverse and often appear elusive. However, they underscore the fact that learning is the critical competency of the 21st Century. On this note, PTD and those who design the PTD delivery must take into account that they cannot create a learning organization; they can only become a climatic force to intensify the emphasis organizations place on learning.

While the private sector is adapting to the goal of the learning organization via utilizing differing management philosophies, the public sector has been slow and resistant to the changes occurring in the workforce. In spite of this resistance, there is an accepted recognition that change is needed. Correspondingly, there is a new mission for PTD, one that is vastly different from in-service days of a decade ago, and with a greater scope. In a new role, PTD must help organizations create a continuous learning environment by linking training and learning.

Some contemporary demands for bridging a gap between training and learning are:

Increased employee enrichment training.

More management development training.

More sequential training,

Increased technical and procedural training,

Expansion of basic skills training and retraining,

Increased leadership-skill training for all staff

Increased use of PTD as a tool for organizational change.

This list not only gives a sense how much PTD has changed in the past decades, but it identifies the role PTD can play in building a continuous learning organization.

PTD is the method by which the school system maintains its identity as a learning and teaching organization, and shakes off the tendency to build habits that resemble an assembly line, rather than a living organization. It is necessary for the learning process of PTD to include teacher interaction, idea sharing, and mutual accountability in order for the PTD to successfully transfer ideas and abilities to the staff. The existing PTD, and online delivery of the same must not forsake the personal interaction which makes learning possible, and fun as it designs a new system through the Blackboard online delivery program.

Purpose of the Project

Since ongoing PTD is the backbone of most teacher training programs and the reason for many in-service days in our school systems, it is imperative PTD be utilized by the school staff. Since the initial objection of scheduling difficulties have been addressed by the installation of the Blackboard system, the continued lack of participation must be due to other factors. The purpose of this project is to:

Hypothesis other possible objections / obstacles to PTD participation

Investigate these factors, and collect data so as to measure the actual effects of these obstacles on the PTD program.

Propose specific changes in the online PTD currently offered through the blackboard system to overcome the existing objections / obstacles.

Present specific methodology (art), information (science), and design format (the learning organization) to be incorporated in the blackboard system in order to improve / encourage staff utilization.

Measuring current attitudes toward PTD will be included as part of an effort to improve overall staff participation. From this data, effective options can be developed.

In the process of creating and evaluating effective online learning as an option for PTD, the following corollary questions should also be considered.

What is the occupational / organizational commitment among teaching staff to participate in the existing PTD program?

What is the effects of psychological contracts between teaching staff, and the school system.

Is there a relationship between length of teaching career, and the teachers willingness to participate in PTD?

Is there a relationship between the recently adapted state standards of learning, with the associated new standardized testing and the staff participation in PTD.

The final question to be answered in light of these four goals, and four corollary questions is "Can an online, self-directed PTD be beneficial to meet the professional development needs while overcoming existing reluctance of the staff to involve themselves in PTD?" Results of this project will be presented to the director of staff development for review to determine the effectiveness and need for modification of the online training system.

Background and Significance of the Problem (need more information regarding background. Was there a time when PTD was well utilized and attended?)

The effectiveness of an organization necessitates adequate organizational formation, satisfactory resources, and qualified employees with healthy working conditions. It is known that human being is the most important input of any organization. Although the organization has organic, physical, and economical components that contribute to its effectiveness, the creative performance of the organization may fail to reach its potential unless the human being, who is responsible for creativity, has attached importance or his/her contribution. Measurement of the person's creative input, and thus his/her effectiveness must also take into consideration his/her expectations.

The human being is, of course, much more important in the educational organizations than in other organizations. Because s/he participates at every position of the input-process-output circle of the educational organizations. "Input" is students, "process" is teacher and "output" is a measurably educated student. By viewing the educational process through this lens, the teachers' attitudes, expectations, and preparation for his/her tasks become the three most important independent variables in the education process. While these variables are independent to the product of education an educated child, they can be dependant variables to the organization to which they belong.

This is the structural outcome-based blueprint from which the specific PTD is constructed. Staff development in the Roanoke County school system is currently conducted by each school as a part of the yearly plan. Each school determines what topics will be addressed and how instruction will be delivered. In many cases however, the topic as well as method and location is developed at the central administration level.

Mike, you will need to provide specific data and history for me to write more in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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