Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Roberta D. Evans

Commitee Members

Sharon Alexander, Neldon Hatch, William McCaw, Don Robson




University of Montana


A large body of literature regarding professional development and its effects on teaching and student achievement and learning has emerged over the last decade. There are many teachers who either have limited access to professional development activities or who have access and choose not to take part in professional development activities. This qualitative study employed a phenomenological tradition in describing the "lived experiences" of participants involved in the implementation of new curriculum. Fourteen teachers and seven principals were purposefully selected to be part of this study in a rural school jurisdiction in southern Alberta. Through a qualitative analysis, this study shared teachers' perceptions as they described the role professional development plays in enhancing teacher efficacy and changing teaching practices in the implementation of new curriculum. Data were collected during face-to-face, semi-structured interviews, and the analysis of data revealed six topics: the need for change, professional development and curriculum implementation, professional development and teaching practices, professional development and teacher efficacy, professional development and student learning and motivation. Major findings from this study concluded that teacher participants recognize PD as the common thread that motivates teachers, improves their sense of efficacy, assists them in successful curriculum implementation, heightens their awareness of the need to improve teaching practices and the need to become student-centered and improve student learning. Principal participants concurred with teacher participants, and recognize the role leaders play in motivating teachers to become actively engaged in professional learning activities. Professional development plays a key role in providing teachers with knowledge and skills to hone their teaching practices, to rejuvenate them, and to improve student learning. It also assists teachers in successfully implementing new curricula. As teachers become aware of the need to change teaching practices in order to improve teacher efficacy, professional development provides opportunities to gain confidence and heighten their sense of personal efficacy.



© Copyright 2007 Douglas Shields Bennett