After reading Chapter 4, find an early childhood teacher who is willing to speak with you as you create an individualized professional development plan based on Table 4.1 in your text. This should take approximately 30 minutes of the volunteer’s time. You may complete this document in person or on the phone, making sure you have provided the teacher with a copy of the document. Using the form, complete section I, rows A–J in Table 4.1 with the volunteer, taking detailed notes. Remember that this is a reciprocal process – it should feel like a conversation, and you should do more listening than talking. Use your notes to type your report, following the structure of Table 4.1.
Include both Parts 1 and 2 in your Individualized professional development plan:
· Part 1: Design a document based on Table 4.1 that will meet the specific needs of your volunteer’s early childhood programs. Make sure to include rows A-J.
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· Part 2: Fill out the document to with your volunteer.
The Individualized Professional Development Plan
The chapter supports your growing capacity to
identify effective professional development features of mentoring;
understand adult development and learning theories;
uncover mentor assumptions and images of the adult learner; and
plan with a teacher for an individualized professional development plan.
This chapter examines effective ways to support adult development and learning. Stages of teacher development and how they relate to the practice of mentoring are explored. Ways to assist the early childhood mentor to join with a teacher to recognize what the teacher already knows and does and to plan for continued professional development (PD) are examined. The chapter emphasizes the mentor’s role in discovering the adult learner’s capacity to connect rigorous and relevant content to ongoing, active learning experiences. Mentoring adults is suggested to combine both teaching and learning into one effective adult-education experience. Individualized and practice-focused education holds the promise of meeting the adult’s need for high-interest, relevant content connected to applied learning. Mentoring should combine both rigor and active learning into a relevant and engaging form of professional development.”
“A successful mentor listens, takes the time to have clear understanding of the protégé, poses questions for reflection, values the protégé’s experience, and does not overwhelm the protégé with information.
Mentoring as Effective Professional Development
Although much more research is needed into the effectiveness of mentoring as a professional-development strategy for early childhood teachers, when mentoring aligns with the identified components of effective professional development, it positively influences both teachers and children. Zaslow, Tout, Halle, Whittaker, and Lavelle (2010) reviewed the literature on individualized practice-focused approaches to professional development and found that most approaches showed evidence of positive effects on teachers’ practices with children, or on child outcomes. They caution that more work needs to be done to distinguish between the specific practices that are the most effective in improving child outcomes. Until more research on practice-focused, or mentoring interactions is conducted, those involved in mentoring programs should examine the processes and overall structure of the programs to see whether the teacher as mentee is experiencing the powerful learning associated with effective professional development (see Figure 4.1), as identified by the National Staff Development Council (Darling-Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009) and by Trivette, Dunst, Hamby, and O’Herin (2009).
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