What is Job-Embedded Professional Development?

Job-embedded professional development referes to learning that takes place during the course of one's work, where daily access to necessary materials, knowledge, and assistance are readily available.

There are many different types of job-embedded professional development that can be undertaken to fulfill the 60 required hours of professional development.

Examples of job-embedded approaches are explicitly endorsed in the Arkansas Rules Governing Professional Development. Variations and combinations of theses approaches can also be deployed within and across schools and districts as part of an overreaching professional development plan.

Job-embedded activities such as professional learning communities and action research can also complement professional development that is being pursued through a university.

Tools for identifying and planning appropriate job-embedded professional development strategies can be found in Chapter 2 of a Tool Kit for Quality Professional Development in Arkansas (pp. 120-185).

Some examples of job-embedded professional development include:

Study Groups

A study group is a group of people interested in collegial study and action. In schools, study groups can meet to study and support one another as they design curriculum, instruction innovations, and integrate a school’s practices/programs. Study groups also study the latest research on teaching, learning, and monitor the impact of new practices on student/adult learning. These practices help analyze and target a school-wide need.

Study groups usually include six to eight people.

Key points about study groups:

  • The groups can be homogeneous (such as grade-level teams analyzing student data and planning a course of action based on their analysis), or heterogeneous (such as cross-departmental groups studying the latest practices in curriculum design and planning an integrated unit).
  • Groups can meet anywhere, but they need to establish a regular schedule or meetings convenient to all members.
  • A trained leader is not necessary. It's helpful, though to rotate leadership responsibility for the group meetings. The leader takes care of logistics for the meeting, arranges for materials needed and assigns responsibilities for the next meeting.

The size of study groups can vary greatly depending upon the topic being addressed. For instance an entire staff group may read a book such as Good to Great by Jim Collins for several months and have an ongoing conversation about the implications for instructional leadership.

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