Date of Award:

10-30-2012

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

L. Joseph Matthews

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of professional development in the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion (S&I) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) through a descriptive analysis of the processes and outcomes of faculty inservice. To accomplish this purpose, 140 randomly selected LDS seminary teachers completed a survey measuring the processes and outcomes of faculty inservice training. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the frequency and variation that teachers reported five features of effective professional development (content focus, active learning, coherence, duration, and collective participation) as being part of seminary faculty inservice training. Descriptive statistics were also used to provide information about the frequency and variation of perceived impact of faculty inservice training on teaching and learning and on feeling prepared to implement seven objectives of LDS seminaries known as the Teaching and Learning Emphasis. Correlational statistics were used to explore the relationship among the five features of effective professional development and the reported outcomes. Teachers reported that the five features of effective professional development were generally moderate in frequency and more frequent in summer inservice than school year inservice. Reported impact of faculty inservice on teaching and learning was also moderate in frequency and more frequent during summer inservice. Teachers reported moderate agreement that inservice directly prepared them to accomplish the objectives of the Teaching and Learning Emphasis. The results of this study indicated that current efforts are moderately effective at implementing five features of effective professional development and achieving the outcomes of improved teaching and learning according to S&I standards. Results also indicate a correlation between the processes of the five features of effective professional development and the outcome measures of teaching and learning. These findings suggest that seminary faculty inservice could improve by increasing the frequency with which faculty implement five features in faculty inservice. To accomplish this, I propose that faculty inservice instructors teach concepts from upcoming scripture blocks, provide more opportunities to observe teaching that meets S&I standards, provide more follow-up, and select seminary principals who are qualified and prepared to provide effective faculty inservice.

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