College of Education > Professional Development School > Secondary English > Inquiry Ideas > Professional Development School Structures

Professional Development School Structures


A regular meeting (weekly or once a cycle) with intern and associate at a time that mentor can attend at least every other week; usually next to a classroom observation.  Discuss how intern can support classroom activities as a co-teacher, reflect on students’ literacies, brainstorm future curricula, identify and evaluate goals for intern’s professional development, invite collaborative projects, all to construct a reflective teaching practice.  An attempt to connect the practical and theoretical through exploring how beliefs fit, or do not fit, practice.

Inquiry Group

A regular meeting (weekly or once a cycle) at the building level with at least two mentor/intern pairs and an associate.  Supports the fundamental goal of the PDS to generate local knowledge about teaching English and to share that knowledge with a variety of internal and external audiences to improve the literacy experiences of students.  Members identify instructional/literacy issue for focused study over time, share strategies for studying the issue, discuss classroom events or students’ work that create and frame the issue, and provide a writing response group for creating documents that present knowledge generated by the inquiry work.  Each member might have a unique inquiry, or some/all might collaborate on one focus.

Growth Portfolio

Usually a 3 ring binder in which an PDS member collects copies of all correspondence and reflective writing, annotated readings, and curricular documents created.  Often used as a source for conversation, reflection, goal setting and evaluation in the Triad meeting.  The most important source of documentation drawn from to construct a professional portfolio at the end of the school year.

Goal Setting

A discussion process with mentor and associate in which the intern writes specific goals in the blocks on a yellow form for the next two weeks of activity and evaluates the last two weeks of activity.

All-group Meeting 

A meeting of the entire PDS membership on a monthly basis to share co-teaching strategies, inform literacy issues across grade levels, and resolve structural issues with the PDS.


A time in which experienced teachers present teaching strategies and philosophies, interns share video for group reflection, and all members are responsible for sharing connections between weekly professional readings, conversations, classroom experiences, and the topics presented.  Equally concerned about the practical and the theoretical.

Professional Reading

Articles & books shared by PDS members, received with the implicit promise to be read and referenced in a future face-to-face or electronic conversation.

Bulletin Board

A significant opportunity to discuss important issues about teaching & literacy on an individual time schedule.  Usually involves more controversy and a level of self-discipline exceeding the responsibility to read shared articles and books.

Dialogue Journal

Possibly the single most influential activity in constructing one’s teaching life as a reflective inquirer.  Usually more valued when shared back and forth between intern and mentor, (even associate) when collaborators sufficiently secure and trusting.