Environmental Scan Measures
Prior to meeting with my mentor, I conducted research on the private school in which I was to implement my work by looking up information online to fill out the profile sheet I made. In addition to asking my mentor about information that I could not find, I sat in on two professional development workshops over the summer in order to acclimate myself to the environment, and acclimate the staff to my presence.
Once my formal observations began, I recorded them in a chart in an effort to maintain focus on visible evidence without evaluating the actual training. While this approach may have strengthened the validity of my observations, I had to modify my use of the chart in later sessions because I did not have enough room to write in some areas, and I had more room in others. This made my notes difficult to interpret. If I were to do this again in the future, I would request being able to type my notes into a document on a portable device during the session (assuming it would not distract anyone).
In addition to the brief evaluation forms administered by the presenter at the end of the teacher training, I handed out and received back several surveys. These surveys were useful in helping to determine the participants reaction to each session.
These were more difficult to arrange than I initially thought because of the teachers’ work schedules and the legal limitations brought out by the school’s special needs population.
As a research, I was an opportunist. Before, during and after sessions, for instance, I would note teacher’s verbal responses to what they were doing and, if it didn’t interrupt the flow of the session, I would probe a little more to find out what they meant. Because these informal interviews were so in the moment and relevant to , teachers seemed more eager and responsive when it came to sharing their insight.
To gain further insight about the professional development process, I sat down with the staff developer for over an hour to ask her the same questions that I did of the teachers; however, more elements of the process arose that helped me gather a clearer understanding of how teacher training is conducted in this environment.