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Helping Teachers Learn: Principals as Professional Development Leaders


by Eleanor Drago-Severson — 2007

Through qualitative interviews and document analysis, this nationwide study investigated how 25 principals from a sample of public, Catholic, and independent schools with varying financial resources understand the practices they use to support teacher learning. This Spencer grant-funded research illuminates how these leaders understand the challenges (e.g., financial, human) they face in supporting teacher learning and highlights their creative responses to challenges. This paper describes (1) four broad initiatives principals employ to support teacher learning and (2) the developmental principles underlying the practices. This investigation offers insight into another way to accomplish important national goals, illuminates robust practices that can support adults with different learning needs, preferences, and developmental orientations, and points toward a different, learning-oriented way of conceptualizing and exercising leadership in support of teacher development.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 1, 2007, p. 70-125
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12737, Date Accessed: 12/11/2017 11:50:51 PM

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About the Author
  • Eleanor Drago-Severson
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    E-mail Author
    ELLIE DRAGO-SEVERSON is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include school leadership, supporting adult development in schools, ABE/ESOL and university contexts, and qualitative research methods. Drago-Severson has authored two books: Becoming Adult Learners: Principles and Practices for Effective Development (Teachers College Press, 2004) and Helping Teachers Learn: Principal Leadership for Adult Growth and Development (Corwin Press, 2004), which recently won the National Staff Development Council’s 2004 “Book of the Year” award. She is currently writing Leading Adult Learning (Corwin Press, forthcoming), which describes practices that can support adult growth throughout school systems.
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