Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Patricia A. Obenauf.


The process of continual growth and development in the teaching profession represents a common value among education professionals. Federal and state laws maintain that teachers must continue to study. These mandates, pronounced at federal, state, and local levels to create high academic standards for students, must be met through quality instruction. Both the profession and the public expect that teachers have the willingness and the ability to engage in continuous learning that will impact instruction. The process by which educators keep their knowledge base current typically is referred to as professional development. Professional development is an ongoing process of continuous improvement, not an isolated event or series of events. The culture of the school must support continuous inquiry and reflection on the protecting and nurturing of research-based approaches to ensure that all students will achieve. If the goal of high academic standards and achievement for all students is to be realized, effective continuous professional development must be maintained as a systemic process.;Although professional development influences the organizational context in which it takes place, it also impacts the individual learner. Effective models of professional development must consider current knowledge of adult learning. Adults need to know that their efforts will result in the opportunity to achieve competency and that the process will respect their intellectual potential and capacity. Educators must have the opportunity to self-regulate their learning opportunities enabling participants to engage in mindful, intentional, and thoughtful behaviors.;The purpose of this study is to evaluate facilitators and barriers to educators' participation in professional development and to assist in developing quality learning opportunities for educators. This report (1) summarizes the perspectives that teachers place on professional development; (2) discusses the possible facilitators and barriers, based on teachers' perceptions, to educators acquiring the skills and engaging in the activities that characterize quality professional development, and (3) identifies a general approach to addressing the delivery of quality professional development.;According to the survey analysis used for this study, the data clearly reports that high percentages of teachers view themselves as continuous learners. Collaboration and collegiality are themes that the pilot study identified as strong, quality characteristics of professional development. Teachers' responses to the survey indicate that learning in groups is a facilitator to learning, along with attending conferences, strong information seeking skills, enjoyment and change of pace, easy access to learning opportunities, encouragement from family members and other teachers, and application to classroom and student achievement. The most highly named barriers are time, financial obligations, family responsibilities, and professional choice in programming.;The study offers recommendations for learners and providers of professional development opportunities. Educators have a responsibility to encourage and nurture their own love of learning, and educational organizations have the responsibility to create conditions and provide tools and procedures for helping teachers experience learning situations. There is also a call for additional research on the topic of participation in professional development.