Under the professional development umbrella, MSTEP is based upon best practice strategies (Loucks-Horsley et al. 1998), and the idea that teaching is part of a cycle that includes comprehending, applying, implementing, and reflecting (Shulman, 1987). The major MSTEP elements are designed to:
- Develop awareness of the need for change through exposure to new approaches and content;
- Build knowledge;
- Encourage curriculum development using the new knowledge;
- Encourage action research; and
- Encourage reflection on teaching and learning.
MSTEP provides a safe, professional, collaborative environment in which teachers learn. It provides the basic components of a successful professional development program (Loucks-Horsley et al. 1998) including:
- A standards-based vision for the classroom;
- Deep understanding of content, pedagogy, and best practice;
- The modeling of effective teaching and learning;
- Building a learning community among participants and within schools;
- Develop leaders;
- Linking to the system; and
- Assessing continually.