How Can Professional Development Help?

Research Questions

What is Involved in Teaching?
How can Teacher Education Help?
How Can Professional Development Help?
How Can Policy Help?
How Can Research Help?
How can we Improve Research?

Research Projects

Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching
Class Acts
Research and Teacher Learning
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
Teacher Education and Learning to Teach
Local Uses of Evidence
Evaluations of Federal Programs


Michigan State University
College of Education
Graduate Program in Teacher Education
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning



Virtually every reform in education begins with the view that more professional development is needed for teachers, and a wide range of programs and funding sources contribute to teaches' professional development. Despite the interest in this area, there are continuing arguments about how professional development is done and how it should be done. Here are a few of my contributions to these debates.

Kennedy, M. M. (in press) How does professional development foster learning? Review of Educational Research.

A meta-analysis of experimental studies of professional development. Sorts programs by their content and by their pedagogy, looks for aspects of PD that influence effectiveness

Kennedy, M. M. (1998, April). Form and Substance in Inservice Teacher Education. Research Report from the National Institute For Science Education, University of Wisconsin, 1998.

Reviews early literature on the effects of professional development in mathematics and science.

Kennedy, M. M. (1991). Establishing Professional Schools for Teachers. In M. Levine (ed.) Professional Practice Schools (pp 63-80). New York: Teachers College Press.

Wrestles with the tension between the fast-paced reality of the K-12 classroom and the need to examine and reflect upon one's experiences there. It offers some general principles for developing learning activities for teaching candidates and offers some examples of each.