Teachers' perceptions toward required and self-directed professional learning
The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a difference in the opinions of elementary, middle, and high school teachers concerning teacher required or self-directed professional learning. Additionally, the study investigated differences in teaching experience, professional development in a series compared to in a single meeting, workshop, or conference, rather than ongoing professional learning, and whether the teachers' perception for professional learning is similar to their administrators' perception for teachers' learning. Research findings indicated there was a relationship between teachers' preference for professional learning and their years of teaching experience and their level of teaching (elementary, middle, or high). There were significant findings for all three sub-groups including the choice of required or self-directed or type of professional learning, the mode of professional learning including participation in a single meeting, workshop or conference rather than ongoing training, and the teachers' perception for administrative support for their professional learning. Statistical analyses revealed there was a main effect of teaching level on required or self-directed professional learning with the high school teachers scoring much lower than the elementary or middle school teachers indicating they preferred required professional learning rather than self-directed professional learning. In addition, teacher level revealed an interaction where the effect of teacher's experience on mode of professional learning was different than the effect of teacher's level on mode of professional learning. Additionally, there was a main effect with teacher's experience and mode of learning with the teachers with 11 or more years of experience scoring higher than the teachers with one to ten years of teaching experience. This indicated the teachers with 11 or more years preferred their professional learning in a single meeting, workshop, or conference rather than ongoing professional learning. Lastly, there was a main effect between teacher level and administrative support with the middle school teachers scored higher than the elementary and high school teachers. This indicated the middle school teachers felt more support from their administrators for their professional learning than the elementary and high school teachers. In addition, there was a main effect between teachers' years of experience and administrator support where the teachers with one to five years of teaching experience scored much higher than the teachers with six or more years of teaching experience.