Investigating contextual preferences for professional development activity design
School and district based professional development account for a significant amount of professional learning that the teachers of British Columbia engage in each year. It is therefore important that professional development activities are planned for the specific needs of the teachers it is meant to serve, and is designed using effective professional development practices. My research sought to investigate the preferences and perceptions of effectiveness of specific designs for professional learning activities at one specific school on southern Vancouver Island. Teachers were invited to take part in surveys and interviews based upon professional development design characteristics. Eighteen teachers completed the surveys, and five teachers followed up with interviews conducted by the researcher. Results showed that teachers preferred learning opportunities where they were able to collaborate with colleagues, engage in active learning opportunities, gain practical strategies and resources and maintain a sustained focus, yet where there several short opportunities to learn are provided. The researcher made recommendations to the school’s Professional Development Committee; in order to help guide the planning of future school based professional development activities.