Professional Development Schools a Model for Effective P-16 Physical Education Partnerships; This Collaborative Program Seeks to Enhance the Learning of Students, Preservice Teachers, and Inservice Teachers

Article excerpt

Effective teacher preparation, improved teacher quality, and greater student learning have been a major focus of discussions at the national and state levels during recent years (Hativa, Barak, & Simhi, 2001; Marzano, Pickering, & Pollack, 2001; Spellings, 2006). Teacher education in particular has come under increasing scrutiny because of the belief that traditional forms of teacher education have not adequately prepared candidates for their roles in the schools (Goodlad, 1998; Holmes Group, 1990; Howey, 1996; Levine, 2006; National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1996). Specifically, inadequate time in the classroom, a fragmented and shallow curriculum, and the lack of connection between theory and practice are all considered reasons to restructure teacher preparation programs (Levine, 2006).

Restructuring efforts and recommendations have centered on creating collaborative and extensive P-16 school and university partnerships focused on student, preservice, and inservice teacher learning (Holmes Group, 1986, 1990; National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, 1996; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education [NCATE], 2001, 2006). These partnerships extend beyond mere clinical experiences and have been referred to in the literature as the professional development school (PDS) model (Holmes Group, 1986, 1990; Levine, 1992, NCATE, 2001). Although some forms of PDSs have been in existence for more than 15 years, little mention has been made of them or their potential to change teacher preparation within a physical education teacher education (PETE) context. The purpose of this article is to describe the defining characteristics of an effective and mature physical education PDS, so that the PDS concept might be replicated at other institutions for improved student, preservice, and inservice teacher learning and increased research and inquiry related to educational practice.

Minnesota State University-Mankato (MSUM), a comprehensive regional university in rural Minnesota, has engaged in school-based partnerships for several decades. The PETE program has been an active participant in these partnerships throughout that time. Although these partnerships were deemed successful, the PETE program has boldly embarked on a conceptually different and deeper partnership with a local elementary school in the last five years. In conjunction with Bridges Elementary School, MSUM has developed, implemented, and begun to assess the effect of the PDS concept within a physical education setting at both institutions. The following sections will outline what a PDS is, highlight the defining characteristics of the MSUM Physical Education PDS, and provide suggestions for implementation by other universities and P-12 schools.

Defining the PDS

Schools that enter into a relationship with a university to bring about reforms in education have been called different names by different organizations. The term PDS was coined by the Holmes Group (1986) and influenced by the medical profession's teaching hospitals, which placed those who were in training with those who were providing medical service in real environments. Professional development schools are simply defined as "innovative institutions formed through partnerships between professional education programs and P-12 schools" (NCATE, 2001, p. 1). The main goals of educational PDSs are to maximize student learning, support professional teaching practices, enhance the professional education of novice teachers, continue professional development for veteran teachers, and encourage research about teaching and learning (Levine, 1998). Standards and essential characteristics for PDSs have been developed by NCATE (2001). These standards and brief explanations of each appear in table 1.

Table 1. NCATE Standards for PDSs

NCATE                               Description
Standards

Learning        The PDS supports P-12 students, teacher candidates,
Community       school and university faculty, and administrator
                learning. …