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Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership


Professional development is an important element in improving teachers and leaders’ skills and abilities that will impact student academic achievement (Koonce, Pijanowski, Bengston & Lasater, 2019; Reeves, 2010). Too often, budgets are spent on professional development that yield little results (Speck & Knipe, 2005). Each district has its own focus for professional development depending on the needs of the school communities, the latest standardized test results, and the most recent policies. Despite the millions of dollars spent on professional development nationally, student learning outcomes continue to be stagnate or dwindle, discipline issues continue to skyrocket, and teacher moral plummets. This may be due, in part, to leaders paying little attention to learning transfer. This case study raises issues related to professional development and learning transfer among teachers and school leaders. This case illustrates the importance of learning transfer and its impact on school improvement.

Learning transfer is the primary objective of teaching, yet it is the most challenging goal to reach (Foley & Kaiser, 2013; Furman & Sibthorp, 2013; and Hung, 2013). Every year billions of dollars are spent on training in the United States, and only 10% results in transfer of knowledge, skills, or behaviors in the workplace or at home, translating to a loss of 87-90 cents per dollar spent on professional development (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Broad & Newstrom, 1992; and Curry, Caplan, & Knuppel, 1994). These findings demonstrate the lack of attention placed on learning transfer and indicate that it is simply not sufficient to only offer professional development events. This case study raises issues related to the lack of professional development and learning transfer among teachers and school leaders and its impact on students and school improvement.

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Sage Publishing and the University Council for Educational Administration





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