Date of Conferral







John Harrison


Through continuing education, educators improve their skills and become more proficient at their jobs. However, some educational leaders are unaware of the perception of teachers regarding professional development. Grounded in Desimone and Garet’s framework of best practices in teachers’ professional development, the purpose of this interpretive qualitative study was to compare that framework to what a sample of teachers believe is effective professional development based on their experiences. Data were interviews with 10 teachers with at least a year of experience in Virginia. The framework was used to compare the theory of what makes effective professional development to the actual experiences of teachers. A deductive thematic approach was used to analyze the data. The themes that emerged from the teachers were active participation, coherence, sustained duration, and collaboration as positive elements of professional development from the conceptual framework, as well as reflection and leadership even though they were not part of the original conceptual framework. Teachers identified having professional development that applies to their work and having choice as reasons they apply their professional development in the classroom. A key recommendation for educational leaders is to use teacher feedback regarding more choice and for professional development to apply to what teachers do in the classroom. Better learning experiences for teachers can lead to better learning experiences for students and promote positive social change in the community.