U. S. Professional Development Experiences with Faculty and Undergraduate Students in Kosovo

Sally R. Beisser, Prof., Distinguished Professor, Corresponding author, Drake University, USA, sally.beisser@drake.edu, Jennifer Thoma, Asst. Professor, Drake University, USA, jennifer.thoma@drake.edu
2021 Anatolian journal of education  
In this qualitative case study, professional development of pedagogical strategies was In this qualitative case study, professional development of pedagogical strategies was presented to 44 university professors and 33 undergraduate students representing two Eastern European universities. This study was part of an international partnership between one U.S. Midwest private university and two partnership universities in Kosovo. Researchers conducted a two-day pedagogical workshop in each
more » ... y setting. Participants in one university represented the Faculty of Medicine, Education, and Language professors. The other university group included English Language and Literature undergraduate majors. Using survey research methods of questionnaires and interviews, data were collected using a pre-workshop questionnaire to inform the workshop content, post-workshop survey, and participation discussion, follow up interviews, and researcher reflections. Researchers presented a series of workshops on best practices in student engagement, questioning strategies, formative reflective assessment, and representing to learn in each university setting. Results revealed participants from both universities were a) positive about learning new pedagogical strategies and b) implementing new teaching practices as a result of the workshop interventions. These findings suggest building positive professional partnerships for professional development results in valuable changes to professional practice. Future research should focus on long-term benefits of such partnerships, specifically on how workshops may continue to inform professional practice. Additionally, professional training that occurs across countries requires special considerations. Collaboration for international professional development should include educators' voices and collaboration between different social, cultural, and teaching institutions. Providing quality professional development requires several vital features, including engagement and active learning, coherence with school standards and goals, and content focus (Desimone, Poerter, Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002) . In this study, two U.S. researchers provided research-based professional development to university faculty and preservice teachers in the recently established country of Kosovo. The researchers used information from a research brief, provided by the European Training Foundation (EFT), with responses from over 250 educators to assess their experiences with continuing professional development (Likaj, 2016) . Findings in this report suggest that professional development planning at the institutional level is not reliable and does not inform professional development; administrators are not trained to identify needs or support professional development; and educators must identify their own pedagogical needs. Educators report wanting more feedback on their teaching practices. This research brief was used to inform the initial survey sent out to potential participants for the current study. In this study, two U.S. researchers conducted a two-day workshop in two separate universities in Kosovo. Considerations were given to the cross-cultural nature of the professional development, needs of the participants, and the perceived success of the workshops. Thus, the research question for this study was "to what extent does a two-day workshop by U.S. professors impact teaching and learning practices of participants from two separate universities in Kosovo?" Literature Review Professional Development Research in the area of professional development continues to grow (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007; Polly & Hannafin, 2010). In a meta-analysis of over 200 research studies, Showers, Joyce, and Bennett (1987) found that what teachers think determines what teachers do; almost all teachers can take training back to classroom when training includes presentation of theory, demonstration of new strategy, initial practice in workshop, and prompt feedback about their efforts. Teachers are likely to keep and use strategies if they receive coaching from peers or experts while trying new ideas in classroom. These findings were later confirmed by Joyce and Showers (2002) when they found that training components and attainment of outcome are provided in rough estimates. When teachers participated in the study of theory through professional development, demonstration of new strategies, and feedback, teachers had an increase of 95% knowledge, 95% skill, and 95% transfer to classroom practice.
doi:10.29333/aje.2021.611a fatcat:5uf626rs2vhbpgfxwxsgd5svwu