The purpose of this action research study was to observe, participate in, and tell the story of teachers involved in a professional development experience. Professional development is an important tool to assist teachers in improving their teaching abilities. After a review of the literature on various forms of professional development and some personal experience with a variety of professional development activities, I created a collaborative study group (CSG) that included three teachers. Their work together was studied using a narrative approach to action research. The stories of these three teachers and their experiences with an informal professional development activity are shared in narrative prose that honors the voices of the participants. The data were analyzed through an iterative process that revealed the content and process of the professional development experience and allowed me to evaluate the activity. Over the six-month study the participants explored a range of issues such as education challenges, students the teachers were working with, and the personal and professional lives of teachers. The teachers discussed educational issues related to helping students (them), the individual teachers (me), and the teachers' relationships with each other (us). The CSG was a unique and informal professional development experience that empowered the participants to take charge of their personal and professional growth as teachers. This study provides evidence that teachers do not need to rely on school or district initiatives for professional development activities but can seek out other teachers to design meaningful and effective professional development.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





collaborative study group, professional development, teacher choice