Guiding Principles

(Compiled by Teresa Farrar, Lisa Hagemeier-Lasseigne, Brandee Mau, Cherice Montgomery, & Chuck Thorpe)

1) Make it meaningful to your audience.

2) Professional development experiences should be holistic in nature, addressing the 'whole person.'

3) Quality professional development:

  • Is sustained and collegial
  • Addresses the what, why, and how of the concepts being studied
  • Positions the participants to do most of the thinking, talking, and working
  • Captures participants' attention
  • Activates participants' prior knowledge
  • Challenges participants' thinking
  • Supports participants in making sense of the concepts using tools such as graphic organizers and visual representations
  • Offers participants opportunities to make personal connections to and meaning of the concepts
  • Involves participants in experiences that allow them to experiment with and practice the new concepts
  • Engages participants in summarizing the experiences, how they have influenced their thinking, and the ways in which they can be applied to classroom practice
  • Asks participants to engage (at least informally) in action research as they attempt to apply the principles to classroom practice

4) Change agents/ideas cause tension, much like a rubber band. Accommodation can only occur in small stages (stretched a little at a time); too great an attempt causes the system to 'snap' and break down. One must convince others to share the belief and 'get inside the rubber band.'

5) Professional development should include follow-up and support for those who are practicing for mastery. 'One-shot' contacts with a new or important concept or practice results in few if any teachers implementing it in their classrooms.

6) Most practicing teachers cannot keep up with latest research. Therefore, a successful presenter at a professional event will summarize that and translate it into best practices, showing what that would look like in the classroom.

(Linked Statements)


  • Effective professional development results from an ongoing cycle of interdependent steps.
  • A learning community, comprised of leaders, peers, and mentors, that builds consensus around a set of beliefs and needs, creates relevance.
  • Relevance creates impetus for change; that change requires resources.
  • Resources, including people, time, and money, are required to plan, implement, and evaluate opportunities for change. Commitment of those resources must be tied to accountability.
  • Accountability ensures a sustained cycle of thoughtful, responsible involvement from all stakeholders within the learning community.

Professional Development Examples

Edutopia - This magazine (available online and in print) is produced by the George Lucas Educational Foundation addresses a host of educational issues, including Community Partnerships, Mentoring, Professional Development, Teacher Preparation.

WGBH Educational Foundation. (2003). Teaching foreign languages K-12: Video organizer. Annenberg Retrieved November 2004, from

This link will take you to a phenomenal library of outstanding, standards-based foreign language lessons in different languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, & Spanish), from various levels (elementary, middle school, and high school) and from a variety of different program models. The buttons on the left-hand side of the screen will allow you to view online video clips of lessons on a wide variety of topics for K-12 learners, will explain more about the lesson and the class, will allow you to download worksheets and other materials used in the lesson, and will take you to links containing relevant resources.These videos and materials are particularly helpful to professional developers who wish to show colleagues quality examples of standards-based lessons, models of teachers who rely exclusively on the target language for both instruction and classroom management, and strategies for supporting this kind of instruction. chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

Resources & Materials

Facilitating Professional Development

GARMSTON_sm.jpg Garmston, Robert J., & Wellman, Bruce M. (1999). The adaptive school: A sourcebook for developing collaborative groups. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-926842-91-9.

This book includes information, ideas, processes, and templates to support leaders in designing and facilitating effective meetings, developing collaborative groups, problem-solving, using conflict as a resource, and other aspects of professional development relevant to initiating, implementing, and sustaining change in schools. Image source: (Contributed by - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg)

Quality Professional Development

Diaz-Maggioli (2003). ERIC Digest. This article clearly outlines elements of quality professional development. It delineates different strategies to address diverse teacher needs, skills, and knowledge.

Edutopia - This magazine (available online and in print) is produced by the George Lucas Educational Foundation addresses a host of educational issues, including Community Partnerships, Mentoring, Professional Development, Teacher Preparation. (Contributed by - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg)

Hirsh, Stephanie, "Creating a Seamless Connection." National Staff Development Council, November 1997.
This article deals with the connection between staff development and resource development.

Little, Judith Warren. "Teacher's Professional Development in a Climate of Educational Reform."
This article focuses on professional develpment asd an agent of change.

Murphy, Mike. "Designing Staff Development with the System in Mind." September 2000 National Staff Development Council.
This article offers a simplified view of staff develpment from a teacher's point of view in order to help the administrator effectively implement staff development.

Peyton, Joy Kreeft. "Professional Development of Foreign Language Teachers." CAL Digest, December 1997.
This article encourages the reconceptualization of teacher education as a lifelong process, details considerations for developing quality professional development for foreign language teachers, and outlines recommendations for teacher education programs.

Resnic, Lauren B. (ed.) "Teaching Teachers: Professional Development to Improve Student Achievement." Research points, summer 2005, p 1 - 5. This article summarizes steps policymakers should include when creating quality professional development opportunities.

Standards for Professional Development

Maryland Teacher Professional Development Standards.

National Council of State Supervisors for Languages. NCSSFL Guidelines: Professional Development, 2006. This article goes through systematically, from beginning to end, setting up foreign language professional development for all stakeholders.

Standards for Required Professional Development of Teachers.
This is New Jersey's Department of Education's academic and professional standards.

Maine's Training and Development Quality Standards.

Understanding Teacher Talk

external image 3726624.gifClark, Christopher M., & Clandinin, D. Jean. (2001) Talking Shop: Authentic Conversation and Teacher Learning. New York, NY: Teacher College Press. ISBN: Image from

This book explores the manner in which teachers express themselves, and in particular when in a group of other educators. I found this book extremely helpful in understanding the subtle messages in teacher narratives. Collaboration and reflection is vital to teaching, and the better we can communicate, the more we can accomplish. (Submitted by Brandee Mau). I hope it is okay to add to this list. It's a fast read and worth the time in my opinion.

More Professional Development Resources

Mentoring, Leadership, & Change 2006: Professional Development - This link will take you to the work of the Professional Development Group from the MLC 2006 Summer Institute.

Technological Tools for Supporting Professional Development

Audacity – Phenomenal, free software you can download and use just like a tape-recorder. Great for creating information sound bytes from interviews, research articles, meetings, or professional development sessions that you'd like to distribute. Save the files as MP3s that people who were unable to attend can download and listen to on their iPods. - chericem1 chericem1

Blogger - Use a variety of pre-made templates to create your own blogs that support the uploading of media-based content for free. Some of the most valuable professional development currently available on the Internet is now packaged in the form of blogs that give readers insight into the thinking behind the classroom practice of stellar teachers. - chericem1 chericem1

Brochure Creator - Design brochures and flyers that advertise professional development opportunities and summarize key principles from conferences and workshop sessions on early language learning. With just a few clicks, you can select themes and templates, edit the text, add your own images, and print! - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

BubblePLY - Allows you to add speech and thought bubbles to any online video, which means that you can now add a layer of commentary to existing videos in ways that allow you to highlight important features of a video without interrupting the video. - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg - Easy-to-use, online, colorful graphic organizer that is shareable. Great for conducting brainstorming sessions, developing lesson plans and unit outlines, summarizing the content of a professional development session, etc. - chericem1 chericem1

Chat Creator - Lets you add a chat window to your site so that others can communicate with you when you are online - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

ClassTools - Provides flash-based templates for the creation of graphic organizers, puzzles, and worksheets. Use them to create materials for use in professional development sessions. - chericem1 chericem1

Cmap - Free, online collaborative concept mapping. Useful for providing teachers with an "overview" or concept map of the content to be covered in a professional development session. The handouts and PowerPoint slides related to a particular topic can be attached to the bubble. chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

Comeeko - Free, well-designed software that lets you create your own comic strips (using photos or images) and save them for others to view. This is a great tool for having participants in a professional development session identify and summarize key issues that were discussed during the session in a memorable way. - chericem1 chericem1

Create Your Scenario - Darling tool that lets you select characters, type lines for each one, save the work, and generate a playscript. These could be used for creating simple role plays that participants can use to practice advocacy, mentoring, or other strategies. - chericem1 chericem1 - This free social bookmarking site allows you to create, organize, and share an annotated list of online bookmarks to your favorite websites with colleagues, students, parents, and community members. By adding new links and then setting your professional blog, class website, school home page, or organization website to receive them, you can provide a continuous "feed" of professional information and quality materials for early language teaching and learning to your colleagues without any extra work! - chericem1 external image chericem1-sm.jpg

Google Reader - After creating a free account, teacher-leaders can use this service to keep track of the blogs and webpages to which they have "subscribed" (for free and very easily) using RSS technology. This is a great way for leaders to stay current with key issues and opinions in the profession. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Scholar – This search engine returns only scholarly articles and books, tells you how many people have cited them, and links you to related articles. Great for gathering information in preparation for professional development initiatives. - chericem1 chericem1


Dumpr - This free online suite of tools allows you to edit your Flickr photos in order to turn them into coloring book images (VERY COOL), make them look old, turn them into globes, or add reflections. You can then save them to your Flickr account. (Still in beta)

Evite - This site allows you to design custom invitations for various kinds of events, draft a guest list, send the invitations, and track the responses automatically. You can choose from pre-made themes and templates, or create your own.

FDs Flickr Toys - Some FUN things you can do to Flickr photos (such as create CD covers, magazine covers, mosaics, trading cards, etc.) that would make super assignments.

Flickr - Allows you to create libraries of images that you can share with others and is a particularly good place to "store" a shared collection of photos for a group.

FoxIt - Free PDF reader that allows users to annotate PDFs via highlighting, text, or drawing tools, to fill out forms and save them, to view PDFs as text, etc. Also has a multi-language interface, self-upgrade, on-demand download, and javascript support.

Generator Blog - A fantastic blog that contains links to all sorts of free, interesting generators (such as cereal boxes, insurance cards, money, etc.) that would be great tools for students to use in creating creative advertising campaigns

Giveaway of the Day - Fully functional, commercial software and tools that can be downloaded for free (one item each day with restricted licenses). Read the "About" section for more information. RSS feed and e-mail subscription notifications available.

Gliffy - An online application that allows you to create diagrams and share them with others.

Go2Web2.0 Directory - A handy directory of Web 2.0 services

Google Alerts – Lets you have Google notify you via an e-mail message when anything is posted on the web on the topic of your choice

Google Books – Lets you search the full text of lots of different books

Google Docs - Free, online spreadsheet and word processor like Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word that lets multiple users on different computers edit a document simultaneously and save it online. Great for collaborative authoring among various group members. Combine this with Skype for voice features too!

Google Notebook – Lets you copy snippets from online articles, or create your own running notebook on the topics of your choice online. The notebooks can be kept private or shared, making them a great place for students to take notes, keep track of sources, and know where their peers have already looked.

Google Reader - After creating a free account, students can use this service to keep track of the webpages to which they have "subscribed" (for free and very easily) using RSS technology. Teachers can "subscribe" to their students' blogs and easily keep track of who has posted new content.

Google Scholar – Returns only scholarly articles and books, tells you how many people have cited them, and links you to related articles - Allows you to create free quizzes, polls, and surveys that you can use on your blog, MySpace, etc.

Jumpcut - Allows you to edit digital video for free online. Great for students who don't have access to anything but the internet at home!

Keep Toolkit - A free, online project planning template that allows students to input images, text, and video into different "boxes" to create a shareable "project portfolio."

Media Convert - A free, slick little online tool that will let you identify a media file on your desktop or at a particular URL and convert it to the format of your choice simply by filling in a simple form. No registration required.

Meebo - Lets you manage chat/IM from multiple services all in one window. Also lets you create a customizable chat widget to add to your blog.

Meeting Wizard - A free, online tool that allows you to negotiate a date for an event, send out invitations, collect responses, and send reminders . . . all automatically!

Motivator - Create your own motivational posters for free with a digital photo and a few clicks. Download them, e-mail them, print them, or upload them to Flickr. You can also order print copies.

Pandora - Type in your favorite artists and Pandora will create "stations" of streaming music that is similar to the work of the artists you have selected, based on research from the Music Genome Project. You can create up to 100 stations for free (registration required)!

Picnik - Absolutely fabulous, free, easy-to-use, extremely functional, online image editing software. Lets you rotate, crop, color, or edit photos and will soon offer special effects. Interfaces very well with Flicker. (Still in beta)

Pikipimp - A free, online site that lets you upload pictures, add all sorts of accessories and speech bubbles to them, then save them. The site will generate a URL where the pictures can be viewed, as well as code for your webpage.

Protopage - Ever wonder what a Web 2.0 webpage will look like? Well, here's the answer! Register for free to get your own page, then customize the content by clicking on any of the tabs and altering their contents. Make as much as you like public or private. Like someone else's content? Simply click import and watch it all get added to your page!

Quickmaps - Allows you to pinpoint locations on a Google map, title and annotate the map, draw on the map, save all your annotations, and then generates a code you can embed into your blog or website to display the map.

Quintura - A very cool search engine that returns the results visually. Mouse over one of the tag words to see additional layers of results. See the new site for kids here:

Sabifoo - Connects the convenience of instant messaging with the power of RSS to create a variety of possibilities

Scrapblog - Combines the purposes and multimedia features of blogging with the visual affordances of scrapbooking. Comes with built-in templates and can accommodate music and video too

Scribd - Allows you to upload documents to share with others

Singshot - American Idol meets You Tube in a Web 2.0 sort of way . . . record and upload songs just like you might do with photos to Flickr. People can vote on them, etc. - Use premade themes to create slideshows from your photos that you can embed in your blog or website.

Snap - Gives you visual previews of the websites that appear in your search results.

Skype – Free software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world (up to 4 people at once) through your computer for free with a cheap headset mic (like the telemarketers wear) as long as the other person also has the software. Great for group conversations about projects. You can also call landlines or cell phones, but there is a charge for that

Swicki - Free software that allows you to create a search engine on your site that will evolve the results over time to better serve users based on their click patterns.

Swivel - Lets you explore, compare, and share data

The Amazing You Tube Tools Collection - A collection of tools to help those interested in using/publishing materials to You Tube.

Tubes - Allows users to drag and drop content (audio files, bookmarks, documents, e-mail contact lists, spreadsheets, videos) into a "tube" that can then be accessed by all those who have been invited to share it. Invitees can also upload content to the tube, making project collaboration easier. The latest versions of content in the tube synch up when the user is online. Click on the Download link to see a 30-second demo.

Webnote Wiki - Allows users to collaboratively take color-coded notes in a space they create and organize them graphically. People can subscribe to your RSS feed.

Websites as Graphs - Lets you visualize the content of a website (in terms of images, tables, text, etc.) graphically. Useful for evaluating websites in terms of content and design issues.

Wikispaces - Allows you to set up collaborative work spaces where multiple people can collaborate. Allows uploading of documents, files, images, and multimedia in addition to basic text, and includes discussion boards for every page, editing histories, revert options, RSS subscriptions, and the ability to review recent changes.

Yugma - Free Web 2.0 videoconferencing software. (Read more about Tim Lauer's experiences with it here: