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Quality Standard #2: Focus on Results
The system of training and development focuses on professional practices that improve the learning and growth of all students.
In successful schools, educators understand that their job is not to teach, but to make sure students learn. It is a radical shift that has revolutionized the way we think about training and development.
Indeed, more and more educators now believe that the ultimate goal of training and development is not to enhance teachers' personal or professional lives, but to improve students' learning and growth. The National Staff Development Council (2001) cites as the basis for its revised Standards for Staff Development the idea that "the primary purpose of staff development is to ensure high levels of learning for all students through improved professional learning experiences for every school employee who affects student learning." A study by Linda Darling Hammond and Deborah Ball (1998) showed a stunning 70 percent correlation between training and development and student performance. The connection between teachers' learning and students' learning is crystal clear.
In striving to improve education for children, training and development, programs must themselves rely on accepted principles of adult education. According to Malcolm G. Knowles (1984), in The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, any educational program designed for adults must take into account five "major assumptions":
In Maine, improving students' learning means ensuring that all students meet the standards set forth in the state's Learning Results. For most school districts, the immediate challenge - and it's both difficult and time-consuming - is to develop their own Comprehensive Local Assessment Systems. At the same time, however, educators at both state and local levels must begin to identify the professional practices that will bring about the "results" we seek.
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