Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Implementing Technology Using the Teachers as Trainers Staff Development Model

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Implementing Technology Using the Teachers as Trainers Staff Development Model

Article excerpt

The Teachers as Trainers staff development model provides a comprehensive framework for faculty and staff training. The research-based model focuses on a number of interrelated concepts designed to generate shared responsibility among faculty, staff and administration. The Teachers as Trainers model involves ongoing support, modeling, and accountability. The model was used to develop two nationally recognized programs, Student Assistance for At Risk individuals (SAFARI) and the technology program in the Westfield Washington Schools, Westfield, Indiana. Program developers also received a National Award for Excellence, for the Teachers as Trainers model from the National Council of States on Inservice Education, in November, 1993. An evaluation component has been added to the model since initial development in 1989.

Staff development is one of the last, best hopes for educational improvement. Politicians and reformers continue to devise new solutions to the purported educational decline. While some of these innovations are beneficial, the reality is improvement and change remain closely related to human resource development. Those who seek to improve education must first focus on enhancing teacher and administrator skills. This is best accomplished through planned, coordinated, ongoing staff development. Unfortunately, staff development has not always materialized into the changes desired by school officials (Williams, 1979; Wood & Thompson, 1980; Thompson & Cooley, 1986; Clark, & Astuto, 1994; Maurer & Davidson, 1998).

Many of the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s failed to produce the intended results (Clark & Astuto, 1994). Legislated improvement efforts espoused by politicians generally focused on singular solutions with little coordination or movement towards systematic change affecting the entire organization (David, 1991). Sarason (1990) suggested that the failure of reform was related to power relationships between teachers and administrators. These relationships cannot be transformed by focusing on symptoms or isolated issues. Educational organizations must be reengineered to develop human resources and build trust, credibility, and collaboration. Traditional management schemes should redistribute power with emphasis directed towards participatoiy management (Champy, 1995). Many politicians, business leaders, parents, and community leaders see schools as simplistic institutions easily transformed into effective learning organizations. The truth is schools are complex institutions mired in a culture that embraces confo rmity, order, and routine (Deal, 1990). Gilly and Boughton (1996) suggested that efforts to improve productivity have been characterized by a number of ongoing innovations or fads that failed due to educational malpractice. According to Gilly and Boughton (1996) managers actually contribute to organizational dysfunction by supporting people who do not understand management, do not possess human relations skills, or who promote the individual instead of the group. Accountability is also one of the shortcomings contributing to malpractice. In effective organizations, workers share responsibility and focus on problem-solving instead of projecting blame at one another (Kouzes & Posner 1993).

The purpose of this article is to examine the "Teachers as Trainers" model, a site-based staff development program that emphasizes faculty and staff empowerment, accountability, responsibility, and ongoing support. A Teachers as Trainers staff development model was used to provide training for two nationally recognized programs in the Wesffield Washington Schools (Westfield, Indiana). In the first program, Student Assistance for At Risk Individuals (SAFARI), the district provided 2,400 hours of training for 110 employees over a four-year period. Later, the Teachers as Trainers model was refined and used to support a 2 million dollar technology platform, financed in part through a partnership with GTE North, Inc. …

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