Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why surf streams of learning?

I'm reading an interview with Motoko Akiba, coauthor of recent study comparing teachers in Australia, Japan, and the United States. The book, Improving Teacher Quality: The U.S. Teaching Force in Global Context, was written as a result. Akiba asserts in the interview that in order to improve USA education, we need to focus on:
  1. Improving teacher quality;
  2. Developing school community;
  3. Improving school safety.
It seems one way to improve teacher quality is to increase professional development hours. She claims,
U.S. teachers spend 66 hours for professional development per year on average, compared to 76 hours among Australian teachers and 284 hours among Japanese teachers.
On average, how many hours do you clock? Is that number representative of your quality, your availability, or the current economic outlook in the USA today? Let's see, what have I done:
  1. Educon 2009 - probably about 12 hours
  2. PETE-C 2009 - 12 hours
  3. VWBPE - 20 hours
  4. FETC - probably 12 hours
  5. Numerous other live streams flowing out of conferences over summer 2009
  6. ACSI development hours - 6 hours
  7. blendedschools online conference - 6 hours
  8. Graduate course - 40 hours
Total = somewhere over 100 hours
I work in a school with a strong sense of community, dismal safety/security, and no professional development. We have required inservice hours, but when one is forced to attend, what is one really getting?
So where do you fall on the hour timeline of professional development?

Akiba, M. & LeTendre, G. (2009). Improving Teacher Quality: The U.S. teaching force in global context. New York: Teachers College Press.
Photo courtesy of Michael Dawes covered under an Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license available at

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