Making Professional Development More Effective

Professional Development Picture

Written by guest blogger: Carol Copple, Ph.D.

Over the last 20 years the leadership across the field of early childhood education has been working to improve the ways teachers and early childhood professionals are trained through professional development activities. While one strand of that work has been the content knowledge that teachers need to know to be able to help children grow and develop, another strand has been the professional development delivery system itself. For example, in order for teachers to increase knowledge and competence, the delivery systems must have:

  •               the capacity to deliver these opportunities to the workforce,
  •               the ability to support access to training and education,
  •               the ability to help the workforce make progress on a career pathway,
  •               the capacity to enable the workforce to achieve increased compensation and benefits.


We want to you to think with us about professional development of the early childhood education workforce in Tennessee, and request that you consider writing about your views in responses to the statements and questions below.


The structure and effectiveness of professional development vary greatly, and new ways are emerging with new technologies—webinars, online classes, and other forms of online professional development.  Some of the factors that early childhood educators have said are limiting to getting professional development online are listed below (A, B, and C).  What do you think about the importance of these as limiting factors?  Are there other factors that you think are barriers to online professional development?

  1. Difficulty of access to computers
  2. Discomfort or lack of skills with technology
  3. Lack of face-to-face interaction with others


What do you think about the importance of the factors below (A, B, and C) in increasing the difficulty of professional development through group training?  Are there other factors that you think are barriers to participating in group training?

  1. Difficulty getting time off from regular duties to attend
  2. Travel expense or difficulty
  3. Lack of administrative support


Have videos/DVDs been part of training you have been involved with?  Did you find them useful?  Why or why not?

Have you taken part in any training involving teachers from a different grade/age level (for example, if you teach preschoolers, have you been part of any professional development in which kindergarten teachers participated)?  Did you find it useful to meet with teachers across the age range?  What might have improved the usefulness of the experience?

Also, please indicate:

  1. Your current position—preschool or kindergarten teacher, family child care provider, director, etc.
  2. How often you participate in professional development experiences (including group trainings, online learning, classes)
  3. Required or voluntary participation
  4. Your experience with the following professional development providers:

i)      Program director/teacher or invited trainers/experts;

ii)     Child Care Resource and Referral  agency;

iii)   Head Start; Local community college;

iv)    State agency.


If you have any other comments, please add them.

Thank you,

Carol Copple, Ph.D.

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