Supporting teachers' professional development

Sigrun Adalbjarnardottir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Each september, for more than a decade, a group of between fifteen and twenty elementary school teachers in Reykjavík, Iceland, assembled to take part in a yearlong professional development program titled "Fostering Students' Interpersonal Competence and Skills."1 The aim of this teacher professional development program was to help the participants promote their students' social competencies in conjunction with their academic achievement. These teachers met twenty times or more at regular intervals across the nine months of the public school year and took turns hosting the group at their school. Each year the general aim of these evening "reflective gatherings" was to provide the participating teachers with a supportive venue for sharing professional concerns, discussing their experiences in the classroom, and working together to find ways to improve their understanding of child development and their classroom skills for promoting students' social growth. One important purpose of these meetings was to consider how developmental theory, especially ideas about the growth of interpersonal awareness among children, relates to educational practice. In general, teachers receive little support in considering the relevance of children's levels of social development to their own students, or to the subject matter they teach, or to the part they as teachers might play in helping their students deal with social relationships. A second focus for discussion was on less theoretical matters that all teachers face daily and for which they can always use additional support: school morale; relationships with parents, administrators, and colleagues; and the promotion of specific teaching strategies and management skills pertaining to students' interactions in the classroom. The program included three parts: teacher training; curriculum development centered on friendship, the school community, and the family; and research to study whether teachers who work constructively on interpersonal issues in the classroom are more capable of improving their students' interpersonal growth than teachers with no such special training. (For more detailed descriptions of this work, see Adalbjarnardottir 1992, 1993, 1994.).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Promotion of Social Awareness
Subtitle of host publicationPowerful Lessons from the Partnership of Developmental Theory and Classroom Practice
PublisherRussell Sage Foundation
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781610444903
ISBN (Print)0871547570, 9780871547569
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2003 by Russell Sage Foundation. All rights reserved.


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