Professional Development in Education

Published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Print ISSN: 1941-5257
This paper examines the ways in which school teachers and university faculty can work together for the purposes of school reform, professional development and educational research. The paper describes the ongoing interactions between teachers and university personnel in two sites in Australia. Each case considers the ways in which the interaction between teachers and academics contributed to the nature of professional learning for all participants, and transcended some of the boundaries between school and university. We argue that the exchange of ideas across institutional boundaries is an important condition of professional learning within partnerships, and that the negotiation and codification of knowledge serves important research and practice purposes.
A comparative review of the research literature regarding the effectiveness of continuing professional development (CPD) demonstrates that a range of different factors needs to be present if it is to have impact in the classroom and that short CPD episodes are unlikely to be effective. The Earth Science Education Unit approach to CPD had to be through short-duration workshops as science teachers were unwilling to undertake prolonged CPD in this relatively minor component of the science curriculum. Follow-up research on the Earth Science Education Unit approach, using a variant of the framework developed by Guskey, showed that all of the schools that responded had changed their practice, with changes ranging from significant to modest. Meanwhile, self-reporting evidence showed a highly positive response with increases in knowledge and understanding. The results of the evaluation suggest that short-duration, well-structured CPD episodes, based on practical and interactive science teaching ideas, presented to whole science departments by experienced presenters, can have long-term impact on those involved. (Contains 6 tables.)
The Scottish Chartered Teacher Scheme was designed to recognise and reward teachers who attained high standards of practice. The scheme emerged in 2001 as part of an agreement between government, local employing authorities and teacher organisations. Policies such as the chartered teacher scheme aim to benefit students in two main ways: by attracting and retaining effective teachers; and by ensuring all teachers continue to engage in effective modes of professional learning. This paper reviews the Scottish scheme in the light of international interest in policies designed to promote teacher quality. Key features of the Scottish Chartered Teacher Scheme are identified and future challenges. The latter include the need to: strengthen the role of the profession in operational aspects of the scheme; ensure the scheme is based on a valid and reliable assessment of classroom performance; mainstream the scheme; and integrate the scheme with changing conceptions of effective school leadership.
Emphasis has been on in-service training of primary school teachers in Nigeria with low laid down practises of continued professional development of teachers. This paper submits that there is need for school based professional development programmes for primary school teachers in Nigeria if they are to remain effective.
This paper considers the professional development of a group of 75 primary and secondary teachers in Melbourne, Victoria, who had been charged with the responsibility of leading the professional learning of their colleagues in their schools. To support these leaders of professional learning in their roles, the Victorian state government's Department of Education and Early Childhood Development contracted members of the Pedagogy and Professional Learning Research Group at Monash University to develop and implement an appropriate Professional Learning program. The Leading Professional Learning (LPL) program ran for seven months and consisted of a series of four face-to-face workshops that were sustained through the formation of peer networks. Each participant in the program was responsible for designing and implementing a school-specific professional learning project appropriate to their school setting. At the final workshop in the LPL program, participants reflected on and recorded their learning through the formalised process of case writing. Their cases were published in a book of Cases of Professional Dilemmas and form the basis of the data-sets that have been used to research participants' learning about leading the professional learning of their colleagues. As a consequence, this paper offers interesting insights into the journey of these educators of teachers as they have developed deeper understandings of what it means to be a teacher educator. (Contains 1 table.)
The present study examines an innovative attempt to address national priorities with regard to subject (mathematics and science) and the needs of gifted and talented pupils. The initiative, PGCE Plus, was at the transition from initial qualifications and the domain of continuing professional development, occurring in the summer immediately following qualification as a teacher and during the first two years of practice. The paper explores the evidence for the success of PGCE Plus pedagogically, and as a model addressed to both participants' needs and national priorities in a context of educational change.
This document is a chapter in "The Principles and Practice of Educational Management," which aims to provide a systematic and analytical introduction to the study of educational management. The structure of the book reflects the main substantive areas of educational leadership and management, and most of the major themes are covered in the volume's 19 chapters, of which this is one. This chapter looks at recent developments in theory, research, policy, and practice in teachers' professional development and considers their implications for school leadership and management. It focuses on England and Wales because these areas offer good object lessons for autonomy, accountability, teaching and learning, strategy, and partnerships. It examines external changes in development, particularly the extensive national reforms introduced in many countries during the 1990s. These reforms resulted in extensive and radical changes in the roles and responsibilities of headteachers, other senior staff, and teachers in general. The subsequent model of professional development arising from these changes emphasized self-developing, reflective teachers in self-managing schools with devolved funding. However, the extent of the model being implemented was influenced by geography and the size of the professional development budget for a school. Other trends that affected professional development were national standards of professional practice for teachers, national curricula, performance management, and performance-related pay. None of these trends is unproblematic, and issues regarding evaluations of outcomes, the coordination of partnerships intended to promote professional development, and the question of what is the most appropriate institutional location for professional education all must be addressed. (Contains 65 references.) (RJM)
In the last decade, social media have become important tools for educator professional development, learning and community. While education has traditionally proven to be an isolating profession, technologies such as Twitter offer opportunities for educators to collaborate beyond their school, district, region and nation. Education-related Twitter hashtags play a key role in facilitating professional connections and interactions between geographically-dispersed educators with common interests and needs. To better understand this phenomenon, we examined more than 2.6 million tweets posted to 16 such education-related hashtags over a 13-month time period. We compared and contrasted synchronous and asynchronous uses of the hashtags, as well as the balance of tweets and retweets, among other characteristics of the hashtag usage. Across the combined hashtags, there was an increase in traffic and trends towards more retweeting and less original tweeting and link sharing. There were substantial differences in the traffic associated with the various hashtags. We discuss our findings in relation to the professional learning and development literature and consider implications for the research and practice of prospective and practicing teacher development in online spaces.
This review of research used science mapping to analyze the knowledge base on leadership and teacher professional learning in K-12 schools. The review identified 793 Scopus-indexed documents related to this topic. Bibliographic data associated with these documents were examined using bibliometric analyses (e.g. author, journal and document citation and co-citation analysis). These analyses document intellectual progress in this field over time, identify key authors and documents, and institutions, and illuminate the intellectual structure of the field. Initially slow growth in the 1970s and 1980s was followed by markedly accelerating growth of research on this topic continuing to the present. We found three main research streams or Schools of Thought comprising this knowledge base: Teacher Leadership of Professional Learning Communities, Principal Leadership for Teacher Learning, Shared Leadership for Teacher Learning. The review identified a need for substantive reviews of research related to these Schools of Thought. Although the literature evidenced a geographical imbalance favoring Anglo-American-European scholarship, a trend of increasing contributions from other regions of the world was observed and should be encouraged. Scholars entering this field will wish to focus on the key authors and documents identified in this review.
This paper maps the development of a response-able (Barad 2007), creative professional learning programme for in-service teachers of an unfolding relationships and sexuality education (RSE) curriculum in Wales (UK) where the authors are uniquely and deeply entangled. We chart crucial aspects of the ethical, political and creative praxis informing this journey and explore how the post-qualitative concepts of darta and dartaphacts (Renold 2018), through creative audits facilitated by teachers that surfaced what students know and wonder about RSE, challenge assumptions about ‘what matters’ in RSE for children and young people. We diffractively analyse teachers’ experiences of conducting creative audits across three post-qualitative vignettes and a poem. These dartaphacts-in-the-making offer glimpses at the boundless potential of making student voice matter, which we argue can spark and sustain a co-produced curriculum that comes from and stays close to ‘what matters’.
Schools in Abu Dhabi are going through a period of transformation and reform. The Abu Dhabi Education Council commenced a professional development plan for principals to enhance their capabilities to manage and initiate change in light of the reforms. This study was conducted to explore principals’ perspectives on professional development received. The research focused on anticipated areas of improvement as far as professional development design. Findings identify areas of improvement in terms of design related to content and process. The research employed a qualitative exploratory case-study approach. Semi-structured interviews, as tools for data collection, were contextualized within the framework of policies and decrees relevant to principal professional development. Interviews with 16 principals in different educational settings form the main source of data collection and analysis. Recommendations presented in this paper support the need for a more proactive stance in designing professional development that supports school principals to implement change.
Recent studies argue that in the next 5 years, the higher education sector will see half to two-thirds of its academic workforce leave the academy due to retirement, career burnout, or job dissatisfaction. This study surveyed over 100 working academics in Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom to determine their aspirations for remaining within, or leaving, the academy. The study found that the professional development and career support available to academics played major roles in their career satisfaction. The study’s significance lies in highlighting the types of support academics most value. The paper also explores what motivates participants’ intentions to remain in, or leave, their current positions, or the academy entirely. This assessment occurs at a time when the literature indicates that a significant period of staff turnover is imminent.
This paper explores the complex processes involved in the self-construction of academic identity in a UK School of Education. Building on seminal literature in this field and drawing on the research of four academics, it begins by discussing teacher educators’ varying perceptions of the need to re-configure their identity to meet the expectations of a twenty-first-century higher education workforce. The article proposes the formation of this identity to be a dynamic, career-long process. Diverse scaffolds for the development process are proposed, including opportunities for new teacher educators to be apprenticed into an academic role, the centrality of communities of practice and the importance of the supported development of academic skills such as writing for publication.
Graph of numbers of participants and their responses to the 28-item survey.
Diagrammatic representation of professional capital constructs highlighting the elements of CPD activity of most benefit to science lecturers.
Personal observations suggest that science lecturers in higher education do not always feel comfortable engaging with the support offered through academic development initiatives. At a research-intensive university in the UK, research was conducted using a mixed-methods approach to establish how science lecturers engaged with continual professional development (CPD) activity. A total of 64 science lecturers completed 28-item surveys about their current experience, context, teaching preferences, and the practices that have supported their CPD as teachers. Surveys were analysed through a statistical package, and descriptive analysis responses were modelled for interest in CPD activity. Dependent model variables included: pedagogical training, teaching receiving greater weighting, and experimentation. Follow-up interviews were carried out with 10 survey respondents with analysis centring on developing a better understanding of CPD engagement. Professional capital was used as a theoretical lens to discuss the research findings which suggest future directions for academic developers and institutions in supporting CPD activity among science lecturers. These include academic developers acting as mentors and offering practical tips to these lecturers. Additionally, academic developers can act as weak ties in fostering institutionally important social networks and foster important collaborative research opportunities. Institutionally, promotion and recognition are key incentives to engage with CPD activity.
The Research Excellence Framework has led to increased scrutiny on the volume/quality of writing produced by academics within higher education institutions. This paper describes the initiation of a writing support programme for teacher educators in a new university and analyses its impact. A key finding has been that supporting staff to write is not simply a case of ‘hurrying them along’ but requires understanding of the particular barriers to writing for this group. We show how tailored interventions, with emphasis on professional development rather than the explicit demand for publications, may be a fruitful approach towards encouraging staff to write and publish.
In an effort to offer a more focussed and competency-based approach to faculty development for newly appointed academics, this study prioritised the roles of the medical teacher, focussing on orientation initiatives. At a research-led university, we used 15 roles of a medical teacher. Health science academics were asked which professional development activities should be available to newly appointed educators with reference to teaching-learning and research development. Quantitative and descriptive research were followed, using a self-administered questionnaire which was completed by 129/256 (50%) health science academics. The top five roles were ranked as follows: Role Model for Students (83.6%); Information Provider in the Classroom (82.8%); Facilitator of Learning (78.1%); Information Provider in the Clinical Setting (75.0%); and Assessor of Student Learning (74.4%). Although research development was ranked important, respondents indicated that it should receive attention at a later stage and not necessarily during orientation. Academics (90.6%) indicated that professional career development should be individualised. Faculty development should encourage gradual development over time, addressing all the roles of the academic, including research. At different institutions, various roles are considered important; and institutional research should be done to guide faculty development.
Flow of the review on academic conferences (based on Moher et al. (2009)).
Subdimensions of the value creation, adapted from Wenger et al. (2011).
This review presents a systematic search for and analysis of the state of the art concerning research (1993–2018) on technology-enhanced conferences for academics’ professional development. Fifty-nine scientific publications were included in the review which analyses them through the lens of the value creation framework. Conference formats are undergoing innovations focussed on amplifying social learning, and the role of technologies to enrich this new landscape is being explored. Initial results indicated that while new practices are emerging, a coherent perspective on technology-enhanced continuing professional development to help understand and inform the transition towards learning conferences was lacking across the literature. For instance, traditional evaluations of conferences, such as satisfaction surveys applied by the end of the conference, are not yet taking into account the full range of possible values created through participation in conferences. In addition, results about the use of social media for community building and enduring professional development remain inconclusive, and a more guided approach towards the application of social media at academic conferences is needed. The Value Creation Framework seems to be an appropriate conceptual framework for understanding the impact of conference attendance for the development of (digital) professional competences of academics.
Role of feedback and academic self-reflection on academic growth.  
Forms of teaching experimentation by Teacher D (2012/13 and 2013/14).
This study followed the academic growth of four university teachers, over a two-year period, with the intention of enhancing inquiry-based learning in practice. Data were generated within the natural settings of classrooms, laboratories and lecture halls, through the analysis of teaching materials, low-participation observation, informal discussions and semi-formal interviews. The research approach was based on a critical social paradigm, assuming principles of action-research methodology privileging a transitional ‘instructional coaching approach’. Outcomes show a marked interest in the design and development of innovative approaches to teaching, learning, feedback and assessment. They demonstrated strong collaborative practices, insightful reflections on their teaching activities, and willingness to share evaluations both within and without of university contexts and successfully contributing thoughts and ideas to a wider audience.
Involvement of teachers in inquiry-based working.
In the Netherlands, academically oriented programmes for primary teacher education have recently been established. The aim of this study is to provide insight in the extent to which graduates from these academically oriented programmes are involved in different forms of inquiry-based working and which factors promote or hinder this involvement. Interviews with 10 academically educated teachers and their school leaders and observations of team meetings were used for this exploratory study. Three forms of inquiry-based working could be distinguished; systematic reflection, using research and conducting research. For most teachers, systematic reflection was part of their daily practice and most teachers made use of research; only a minority was involved in conducting research. Factors like ownership and the role of the teacher in the team were related to teachers’ involvement in inquiry-based working. Teachers with a formal research function in inquiry-based working in their schools appeared to be more involved in inquiry-based working, especially in conducting research.
The aim of the Early Years Framework, launched in Scotland in 2008, was to improve outcomes for young children, reflecting global trends in the repositioning of early childhood education and care and in the professionalisation of those working in these settings. One part of this framework is a mandatory requirement for leaders of early years establishments to attain the Standard for Childhood Practice through a Childhood Practice Award, equivalent to an undergraduate degree. This repositioning and restructuring of the workforce has had a number of implications, explored in this article. The challenges have been to design programmes that address mandatory requirements, meet the needs of experienced professionals in full-time employment and support the transition into adult learning. Through this learning journey, professional identities are reconstructed and the sector professionalised through academicisation, which has resulted in a number of challenges for the wider education workforce. This article draws on empirical research with Childhood Practice students, who discuss their response to this initiative. The shift in professional identity and change in professional status has resulted in issues of perception and parity, particularly in relation to teachers, and raises further structural and pedagogical questions about the remodelling of the early years workforce. © 2015 International Professional Development Association (IPDA)
The United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) is a national framework that aims to enhance and raise the status of teaching and supporting learning in Higher Education (HE). This paper provides an overview of the adoption and an indication of the impact of Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowships through a document review and a qualitative study. The document review suggests that the adoption of HEA Fellowships has grown substantially, to half of the academics and related staff in the UK but shows no positive or negative relationship with the perceived quality of teaching in the National Student Survey (NSS) over the same period (2011-12 to 2017-18). The relationship between HEA Fellowships and the enhancement of teaching practice is the focus of the qualitative study. The analysis of in-depth interviews (n=11) conducted with senior academics who have obtained Senior Fellowship, at a post-1992 and a research-intensive university, reveals a complex relationship between the recognition schemes and the enhancement of practice. This needs to be understood against the managerial realities underpinning engagement, the limitations of the recognition schemes, and standards for the enhancement of teaching practices. The discussion explores the implications for academic developers, leaders, and policymakers involved in HEA Fellowships. The paper was accepted without further amendments.
When new academics begin university life, the support they receive in their departments can vary. For many their initial experiences of the new job can be daunting. In this article 10 new academics from a range of disciplines were involved in a community of practice, known as Catalyst, to support them finding their feet within the university. Catalyst is a special community of practice; it is structured, multidisciplinary, one semester long, meets fortnightly and has no restriction on numbers. It also includes peer mentoring, where the new academics meet in pairs or small groups between meetings to foster further support at a deeper, more personal level as they talk about critical aspects of beginning an academic path. In the process they learn more about each other and build strong professional friendships. In this article, the community of practice is evaluated through analysis of journal notes kept by the author, together with semi-structured interviews and a focus group by an independent researcher. In particular, working collaboratively away from their disciplines provided space to learn about institutional and departmental expectations, but more importantly the opportunity to discuss difficult issues that often arise for new academics in a supportive environment.
The interest in Professional Development (PD) in learning and teaching in Higher Education (HE) has seen an increase in the last few years owing to the evolving role of HE teaching academics in the futures of students and their employment. In Australia, while there is evidence that research in learning and teaching PD is growing, these studies appear sporadic and confined to predetermined disciplinary boundaries. From a practice perspective, the fragmented nature of the literature confounds the issues related to the uptake of learning and teaching PD by academics. It is proposed that a scoping literature review of studies of learning and teaching PD in Australian universities is necessary in identifying attributes within the sector, and will illustrate the gaps in the literature related to professional practice. A typology of the interrelated patterns of the attributes that emerge from the scoping review is presented. This typology has practical implications for both teaching academics and academic developers who respectively engage with and implement PD strategies.
Supporting new academics when they begin a university career is important for them to adapt quickly and easily to the institutional goals and expectations. For those arriving from overseas and a different culture, often with families, this support is even more crucial. In this article, 10 academics from a range of disciplines, in which nine were both new to the university and New Zealand, were involved in a development programme over one semester while they worked in their respective departments. As the group met regularly, a community of practice developed, providing the right mix of necessary information for newcomers and community support as they learned about the institutional expectations of academic life. With an emphasis on teaching to move from being predominantly teaching-focused to learning-focused and with the group support, the participants experimented with making changes to their teaching practices. The findings illustrate four different phases of development occurred and highlights the need for well-designed induction programmes that are not the traditional, one-size-fits-all. Importantly, with international numbers continuing to increase, creating communities of practice within induction programmes and building teacher identity will enable newcomers to the academy to grow in confidence of who they are professionally.
Professional learning is an essential component of the institutional conditions required for a high-quality first-year student experience. Initiatives to improve students’ determinative first year in higher education have expanded but one area notably absent in the literature pertains to professional learning tailored to meet the needs of academics teaching first-year students. The aims of this study were to explore what academics need to do and understand to effectively teach first-year students and design professional learning that would support them in their teaching role. Evidence-based practice was the methodology chosen for the project as this enabled relevant literature to inform academic practice. Findings from the study revealed that professional learning is intrinsic to being an academic. To be effective teachers and make a positive impact on first-year students’ learning necessitates that academics have an ability to draw on key knowledge, skills and attributes. However, these constructs are not finite and to be responsive to the evolving needs of students, professional learning for academics should be multi-faceted, ongoing and integral to everyday practice. Based on these findings two frameworks are presented that could be used by staff teaching first-year students to guide their professional learning.
The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to evaluate the efficacy of 14 Mathematics, Science and Technology Teacher Preparation (MSTTP) academies located across the state of Texas. The aim of the academies was to increase the number of highly qualified mathematics, science and technology teachers, while also improving the quality of certified teachers in these areas by focusing on seven established goals. A mixed-methods design was utilized to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. The results revealed that the 14 MSTTP academies demonstrated three key strengths: focusing on strengthening content knowledge; developing professionally committed teachers; and providing funding for participants. Additionally, all 14 academies were charged with accomplishing seven goals; however, none of the academies fully implemented all of these goals. Specifically, all of the academies struggled to accomplish two goals: the integration of the areas of science, technology and mathematics; and the infusion of technology into curriculum. Finally, the study revealed that the goal of strengthening content knowledge was a good predictor for participants’ content qualifications, while strengthening content knowledge and strengthening pedagogical skills were good predictors of participants’ pedagogical qualifications. This research study contributes to the fields of teacher preparation and professional development.
Inclusion Support Facilitators support Early Childhood Education and Care centres in Australia to provide an inclusive environment for the children they serve. To date no research has examined the causes of job stress faced by these professionals. Similarly, no research has explored how interventions aimed at supporting Inclusion Support Facilitators’ practice may impact their work. This research explored how the first of a set of critical reflection workshops instructing on the use of the Circles of Change methodology impacted the practice of Inclusion Support Facilitators. The research was undertaken in two stages. The first stage involved collecting baseline data to investigate current levels of job stress amongst Inclusion Support Facilitators. The second stage involved gathering qualitative data to explore the opinions of professionals about how such stresses might be changed following an initial critical reflection workshop. Findings from this research suggest that job demands may be a potential cause of stress for Inclusion Support Facilitators. Findings also suggest that the Circles of Change methodology may be helpful in encouraging personal reflection, communication and transformational change amongst professionals who support those working in childcare. Such notions are critical to how professionals manage both job stress and workplace change.
Results of research conducted to inform design of a professional development package for teachers involved in a preventative education, ‘Keeping Safe’, pilot (currently being evaluated via Randomised Control Trial) in Northern Ireland primary schools are presented. SNAP online survey technology was used to gather the views of 318 mainstream and special school teachers. Twenty-nine multiple choice questions explored teachers’ professional experience, access to professional development, learning style preferences and experiences of e-learning. Results were analysed using SPSS. Almost all teachers reported engaging with professional development; however, respondents were most likely to access forms of development that are less associated in research with improved teaching practice and student outcomes (courses, workshops, conferences). Collaborative (group work, interactive sessions, cluster groups, coaching and mentoring) and interactive (self-reflective, discussion and debating, use of case studies) approaches were typically preferred but were only accessed by a minority. Existing web-based development platforms were used infrequently, despite most teachers reporting some capability with e-learning. The identified gap between teacher preferences and capabilities regarding professional development and actual practice is consistent with previous research. Recommendations are made for design of a ‘Keeping Safe’ development package aligned to teacher preferences and grounded in research on effective teacher professional development.
In this research we examined the ways we accessed and responded to students’ engagement with a set of pedagogical principles of teacher education focused on meaningful physical education. The research was cross-cultural, taking place in universities in Country 1 and Country 2. Self-study of teacher education practice (S-STEP) methodology guided collection and analysis of the following data over one year: lesson planning and reflection documents, and critical friend and ‘meta-critical friend’ interactions. Findings indicate the value in teacher educators becoming more intentional and systematic in how they access student perspectives related to engagement with learning experiences of pedagogical innovations in pre-service teacher education, while also emphasising the challenges in doing so. The concepts of reflection on- and in-action provided a framework for understanding how being more intentional about accessing student perspectives can be enacted in teacher education practice. Our experiences demonstrate how focusing on student engagement can support the professional learning of teacher educators through enabling a deeper understanding of the challenges faced in being responsive to students’ engagement with their learning.
Despite the rapid flow of international students to Anglo-Saxon countries, especially the US, UK, Canada and Australia, the professional development needs and practices of teachers working with international students are still under-researched. According to the OECD, around the globe, over five million students are pursuing tertiary education in another country other than their own. Australia, in particular, is hosting more than 600,000 international students. Australian teachers are facing significant professional challenges to engage with pedagogical issues in teaching international students. This paper responds to a critical gap in the literature by exploring teacher interactive and reflexive positionings with regards to their professional development in international education. It draws on a research project that includes observation, field work, and 102 semi-structured interviews with staff working with international students. The findings indicate the need for professional development focusing on supporting teachers to develop the capabilities to not only deal with the challenges in teaching an increasingly diverse student population but importantly, build productive interactive relationships with their international students. In this regard, interactive relationships are centred around recognising cultural differences and positioning international students as partners on a more equal basis in the construction of transnational knowledge, skills and competencies.
The vast literature on teacher professional development (PD) often assumes that the success of a PD programme should be measured by the extent to which the participating teachers accept and adopt, often in a relatively linear chain, the programme of learning, paying insufficient attention to how highly accomplished teachers respond to PD situations. This study investigated the experiences of a group of nine highly accomplished secondary school teachers, who also held leadership roles, following their participation in an intensive PD programme. Using an analytical lens of ‘acceptance barriers,’ we studied how these teachers interpreted their experiences of the programme and the impact of those experiences on their thinking and practice. Our findings show that teachers experienced the programme as a starting point, not a finished package. We identified a continuum of ways that these teachers applied, adapted and amplified ideas from the programme. We argue that recurring features of PD models such as linearity and implementation fidelity do not recognise teachers as professionals who assert agency over their own practice, and that the design, implementation and evaluation of PD programmes need to address how highly accomplished teachers are likely to respond, balancing fidelity with expectations of agency.
The complex nature of the work of a teacher in England was thrown into fresh relief in 2010 by the marked contrast between the outgoing New Labour administration and the incoming Coalition. The paper addresses the false dichotomy between views of teaching as craft and teaching as profession and proceeds to a consideration of the actuality of the middle-ground. It then seeks to place the bespoke (and short-lived) Master’s in Teaching and Learning degree within its recent historical and philosophical context. We consider its validity within a meaningful developmental cycle and its continuation as a significant addition to the available professional development resource.
How are teachers motivated to continue to learn throughout their career in a high-stakes accountability context? This innovative mixed methods study employs inductive/deductive hybrid thematic analysis and self-determination theory to investigate teachers’ self-reported motivations to continue their professional learning. Through analysis of survey responses and in-depth interviews, a new concept of ‘constitutive motivations’ is presented. This concept adds more nuanced insight into the motivations of teachers working in contexts dominated by a neoliberal framework that foregrounds teacher performativity. The analysis suggests that, despite experiencing controlling managerialism within high-stakes accountability workplace contexts, teachers retain a sense of vocation and are motivated to learn based on their commitment to children and to teaching itself. The findings imply school leaders and teachers themselves should take steps to cultivate and harness constitutive motivations as a driver for professional learning.
Teachers today operate in highly politicized accountability environments where quick results, typically measured by K-12 test scores, are demanded. Although focusing on student learning outcomes is critical, equally essential is assuring that teacher learning opportunities which can strengthen instruction are available to teachers. A decade ago, Boardman and Woodruff found that teaching in a ‘high-stakes’ environment led to more assessments, scripted curriculum decisions and a shift in professional development that emphasized preparation for and enhancing results on tests. This exploratory, descriptive case study sought to understand how teachers described professional development a decade later. We used purposeful sampling and qualitative methodology to better understand educator perceptions of professional learning within two different accountability environments in the United States. Using the insights of educators working in these environments, the research explored ‘How do teachers describe the influence of accountability on their professional learning?’ We achieved this by asking teachers directly about their professional learning opportunities. This article points to the potential inequitable influence various sanctions have on teacher professional learning. Findings illustrate that although job-embedded professional development opportunities existed in both contexts, the nature, quality and outcomes of the professional learning differed.
As test-based accountability gains more popularity worldwide, concern has been growing that it reduces and confines teacher learning and professionalism to exam-oriented teaching. Given novice teachers’ vulnerability and the likelihood that accountability regimes will affect them significantly, this review examines 12 studies focusing on novice teachers’ professional learning in varied test-based accountability contexts. Despite the international popularity of accountability, most of the studies in this area were conducted in the United States, apart from one from Singapore. Most studies found that test-based accountability had a negative effect on novice teachers’ learning by causing them to experience too much pressure and tension and forcing them to produce teacher-directed lessons for exam preparation. Meanwhile, a few studies suggested that providing balanced principal leadership, community support, or both could help reconcile teachers’ instructional beliefs with exam-oriented practices, thus leading to better teacher learning. The review findings have produced implications for research, policy, and teacher education.
The article draws on a policy experiment, intended to develop guidelines and recommendations for teacher evaluation. A systematic review, used in the experiment, revealed that teacher evaluation fails to fulfill its formative intention, and is reduced to summative technicalities when systems violate acknowledged principles from evaluation research. Interestingly, researchers rarely asked who were responsible for failed teacher evaluation attempts. Therefore, to better understand the relationship between school leaders and teacher evaluation, relevant studies in the systematic review were reanalyzed and more recent studies identified in a supplementary search. In total, 73 studies were examined and guided by the research question: What characterizes school leaders’ activities in teacher evaluation? Fifteen of the studies included for in-depth analysis. The analysis revealed that how school leaders perceive teacher evaluation affects how they approach it. While some school leaders think as administrators, others identify with the profession. Policy assumptions, leadership and teacher professional learning are discussed, and the potential of professional learning communities (PLCs) to develop formative evaluation practices was analyzed. In the conclusion, it is argued that school leaders and teachers need a joint knowledge base for professional development and that with proper leadership, inquiry-based PLCs may strengthen the teaching profession.
Research in developing teacher and learner thinking highlights the challenges in translating theoretical constructs into changed practice. One Australian study tracked teacher thinking across school contexts over the proposed three-year timeframe of one professional learning programme. The programme framed a shift in learner and teacher thinking within a pedagogical model. The study questioned: How do teachers develop collective efficacy in their professional learning to modify their teaching practice and improve student learning within a schoolwide pedagogy? The primary and secondary schools from government and non-government contexts sought to cultivate routines that are continually developed through practice-based inquiry of teaching teams. The findings highlight the achievements of teacher inquiry into practice and the challenges of implementing a schoolwide professional learning initiative. The recommendations offered here may be transferred to other contexts to promote teacher collective efficacy through practitioner inquiry and the use of a pedagogical language and model that focusses on learning thinking. The research to date highlights the importance of bolstering teacher involvement in reporting their own learning and development of practice, as well as addressing the theory-practice divide. Further research on teacher professional learning is needed to enable teachers to traverse the knowing-doing gap in their practice.
The role of teachers in education is widely acknowledged in educational studies that routinely find that quality of teaching is fundamental to student success. Accordingly, this study set out to examine and describe the professional development of teachers in countries where students perform better in the PISA assessment, namely, Finland, Estonia, Japan, Singapore, and China. Data were obtained from primary sources and compared using Bereday’s method. The general structure and systems used for professional development in each country were identified along with details of the admission requirements for teacher candidates, the induction process for new entrants to the profession, and how ongoing activities such as in-service training are facilitated. Common elements included quotas on the number of places available for pre-service training programmes, rigorous pre-selection and assessment of teacher candidates, and limited access to the profession for suitably qualified candidates with the minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Descriptors and coding scale for the element Student direction. Reprinted from Quality Teaching in NSW Public Schools: A Classroom Practice Guide (p. 36), by NSW Department of Education and Training, 2003, Sydney, Australia: Author. Copyright © 2003 by the State of NSW, Department of Education and Training, Professional Support and Curriculum Directorate. Reprinted with permission.
Dimensions and elements of the Quality Teaching model.
Articulations of effective teacher professional development (PD) consistently foreground a focus on curriculum content and how best to teach it. Consequently, when teachers work together on pedagogy they typically work with colleagues who have similar specialisations, focusing on a specific subject or part of the curriculum. Arguably, however, pedagogical practices cut across grades and subjects, which signals the possibility of effective PD that includes diverse teachers. In this paper, we analyse the impact of a pedagogy-focused approach to PD called Quality Teaching Rounds (QTR), recently tested under randomised controlled trial conditions. Drawing on post-intervention interviews with 96 teachers and leaders at 24 schools in NSW, Australia, we demonstrate that QTR generated fresh insights about pedagogy and students, enhanced collegiality and led to ongoing professional collaboration, even though it does not abide by the general consensus that effective PD should be content-focused. We argue that pedagogy-focused PD, using QTR, is an important mechanism for improving teaching on a large scale, not just for this grade or subject, but for teaching in general. With a global push for better teaching as foundational to improved student outcomes, building teaching capacity across the entire teacher workforce remains a challenge. QTR offers a way forward.
This study explores mindfulness-based teaching and learning (MBTL) as an emerging field of transprofessional practice spanning educational, organisational, and clinical professions. Recognising the need for a more robust set of transprofessional MBTL teacher competencies to serve this emerging specialisation, the authors developed and validated the Mindfulness-Based Teaching and Learning – Teacher Competency Framework (MBTL-TCF). Building on the pre-existing Mindfulness-Based Interventions-Teaching Assessment Criteria (MBI-TAC), the researchers developed a teaching framework for mindfulness specialists to reflect teacher agency, autonomy, and self-determination consistent with the purposes, traditions, and effects of what MBTL teaches: that is, mindfulness. The paper presents the sequence of construct, face, and content validation procedures, including the alignment of the MBTL-TLC with Dreyfus and other teacher competency frameworks from a range of sectors and countries. Finally, using an adapted Delphi process, a six-member international expert panel plus one diversity reviewer were invited to review and refine the emerging framework. The resulting MBTL-TCF presents 12 competency domains with associated activities and performance indicators.
This ongoing longitudinal study examined the professional development of physical education teachers in an Irish physical education learning community where all teachers worked in inner-city disadvantaged schools. This research is framed within teacher empowerment. Four years of data collection included in-service seminar/workshop evaluations, small group discussions and focus group and individual interviews. Data were analysed to allow us to answer three research questions that focused on support in setting and achieving group goals, shared experiences of planning and teaching students and the informed development of learning communities towards a community of practice model. Results highlight the support these teachers provide one another, the empowerment these teachers developed to address issues posed by their challenging work situations (e.g. limited facilities, low economic conditions, students with challenging behaviour) and the motivation that being a member of a community afforded them to persevere in teaching in difficult settings. This research is ongoing as we explore and examine how the same group of teachers are able to maintain the work of their community, reinvent themselves and move from concluding one phase to begin new projects and impact student learning. © 2016 International Professional Development Association (IPDA)
This paper explores how to develop teacher leaders across the career span. It offers a conceptual framework with three central tenets of teacher leadership: an emphasis on inquiry, a social justice imperative and an expanded understanding of teachers’ roles in schools, communities and society. This model foregrounds the primary role that teachers should play in building a more equitable, democratic society. The paper then presents a case study of how one institution is attempting to link the conceptual model with practical application. This includes revision of pre-service and graduate teacher education programmes as well as partnerships with local schools. The goals of applying this model in practice are threefold: building capacity for teacher leadership and ongoing inquiry throughout PreK-12 schools, preparing pre-service teachers to enter the profession with a broader understanding of their role and the capacities needed for creating change in schools, and building connections among different programmes and institutions in order to support sustainable change efforts. Throughout the paper we examine the complexities of working across time and space to support systemic change by centralising the development of teacher leaders.
This paper provides an account of a school-centred research and development project aimed at improving teacher and pupil understanding of talk as a tool for learning. The paper establishes the basis for a dialogic pedagogy and reflects on strategies for creating an effective classroom climate that promotes productive and purposeful talk. It goes on to explain how a collaborative approach, founded on the use of classroom-based research for professional development, was developed to encourage discussion and dissemination of practice amongst teachers across subject departments. In the classroom-based research a pragmatic approach was adopted, involving mixed-method data collection and analysis; this included video analysis of lessons, interviews and research logs to encourage reflective practice amongst teachers. This project suggests that the approach was highly successful in developing a staff as a community of learners and suggests that an approach which involves the collaborative analysis of classroom practice can lead to significant whole-school developments. The case is made for promoting a whole-school focus on the use of talk for learning and proposals for further developments are outlined.
School leaders increasingly view inquiry-based professional learning as a means to address diverse aspirations concerning teacher development, school improvement, and regulatory requirements. This qualitative, case study uses interview data to investigate the experiences of school leaders during a one-year cycle of Practitioner Inquiry: Teacher as Researcher. Initially envisaged by the leaders as a solution to school improvement and compliance targets, the data reports how the practitioner inquiry professional learning initiative shifted to reinforce the leaders’ role as expert classroom practitioners, and to be an innovative way to shape collegial reflexive practice. Viewed through the Trialectic Theory of Spatiality lens, this paper reports how leaders in one school setting negotiated the potentially contending educational spaces relating to routinised practice, school improvement, and compliance to shape thirdspace innovation.
This article introduces Project RAISSE: Reading Assistance Initiative for Secondary School Educators and shares the findings of a study into those factors found to motivate study group participants at two rural high schools in the southern USA. The research team collected qualitative data over a two-year period, including interviews, artifacts, observations, blogs and surveys. Data were analyzed for any indication of that which positively or negatively impacted participants using a content analysis approach. The inquiry yielded the following four categories found to motivate study group participation in a secondary school setting: creating an environment for adult learning; translating new literacy learning into practice; providing and developing materials and resources; and blogging to continue conversation. The article offers a detailed framework for developing and implementing a network of onsite study groups designed to motivate teachers’ ongoing learning that impacts instructional improvement. The conceptual framework underpinning Project RAISSE offers insight into how we might address systemic professional development for secondary schools that has a good chance of improving instructional practice and positively affecting student achievement.
This paper examines teaching practices prevailing across five cities (Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei) for the underpinning pedagogical identities that inform practice (identity grafting). The study adopts innovative approaches via OECD teacher surveys to identify relationships between pedagogical identities (highly effective, outcome-centred, discipline-centred, diversity-centred and lowly effective) and teaching effectiveness in implementing pedagogically informed practice (instructional: learning-focused and assessments; classroom management: motivational, discipline and diversity). An original concept of identity grafting is employed to highlight which pedagogical identities best support teaching effectiveness (blending, integrating, reversing and repressing). Cluster analysis rigorously compares teachers’ pedagogical identities, teaching effectiveness and identity grafts in all five cities. Shanghai and Singapore have the largest segments of highly effective teachers within the local teacher population. However, Singapore likewise has the largest segment of lowly effective teachers among the cities, and Shanghai teachers are overall less likely to value diversity management than teachers in other cities. Across the cities, teachers who implement diverse practices by blending or integrating, and, to some extent, reversing pedagogical identities, have more effectiveness than those who repress their identities. The results provide globally significant insights into targeted professional development for different teacher segments within and between contexts.
This study builds on the Spaces of Wellbeing Theory to investigate the circumstances under which community participation can affect teachers’ capacity to perform wellbeing in anticipation of their daily circumstances. Participants were 10 in-service physical education teachers, members of a Learning Community (LC) of cooperating teachers who supervised undergraduate students in their school practicum. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants divided in three groups, based on their years and type of engagement with the LC. Data analysis followed a qualitative induction approach. Three overarching themes were developed to represent community participation as: (1) learning in practice; (2) social formation; and (3) sharing and belonging. Results showed that both novice and experienced community members approached the LC space with an expectancy to produce or receive professional learning and support. Such a stance mediated conditions of possibility within which personal capacity was bridged with group dynamics. The reframing of teacher wellbeing as a stance of relational being and practice could contribute new understandings of the ways that community connectedness could help teachers imagine alternatives and perform new assemblages of professional becoming.
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