Partnering with Students in Middle Grades Teacher Professional Development

John Downes,
Regina Toolin,
University of Vermont

Presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference
San Diego, April 2009


In the last several decades researchers have devoted substantial effort to understanding
how student voice can contribute to improving schools, particularly classroom- school- and
district-level reform efforts. Yet little is known about how the power of student voice can
contribute to teacher professional development designed to promote middle grades reform in
teaching and learning. This study seeks to understand the role of student voice in changing the
attitudes and practices of teachers participating in a state-wide middle grades professional
development institute. Through surveys, observations, document analysis, and interviews with
students and teachers, the research examines how students contribute to the design,
implementation, and evaluation of teacher change in middle grades classrooms.


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Middle Grades Collaborative
Saint Michael's College
Education Department Box 281
One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439
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