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The Learner of Today Needs A Teacher Focused on Tomorrow

Authors:
  • Australian College of Researchers

Abstract

As governmental and educational authorities continue to focus on teacher practice as a vehicle to improve student performance, the consequence is on schools to address/review their mechanisms for supporting teacher improvement. This chapter highlights the need for teachers to become more responsible for their own learning in order to meet the growing learning needs of their students. A new era of learning calls for new teacher skills to embrace a new pedagogy in the classroom. Consequently, this paper proposes an approach used by St Augustine’s Primary School to improve school outcomes guided by a comprehensive roadmap for focusing on implementing curriculum reform and the pedagogical underpinnings needed to achieve such reform. It also offers direction for assessment reform, employment of the 21st century teacher and the need for appropriate tertiary training strategies, the leadership development of staff, and the role of collaborative technologies in engaging professional learning. It argues the way forward for improving teacher practice, at the school level, requires a renewed look at how professional development is not only seen by educators but also how educational systems offer professional development.
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CHAPTER 1: The Learner of Today Needs A
Teacher Focused on Tomorrow
Dr Jake Madden
Principal, St Augustine’s Primary School
As governmental and educational authorities continue to focus on teacher practice as a
vehicle to improve student performance, the consequence is on schools to address/review
their mechanisms for supporting teacher improvement. This chapter highlights the need
for teachers to become more responsible for their own learning in order to meet the
growing learning needs of their students. A new era of learning calls for new teacher
skills to embrace a new pedagogy in the classroom. Consequently, this paper proposes
an approach used by St Augustine’s Primary School to improve school outcomes guided
by a comprehensive roadmap for focusing on implementing curriculum reform and the
pedagogical underpinnings needed to achieve such reform. It also offers direction for
assessment reform, employment of the 21
st
century teacher and the need for appropriate
tertiary training strategies, the leadership development of staff, and the role of
collaborative technologies in engaging professional learning. It argues the way forward
for improving teacher practice, at the school level, requires a renewed look at how
professional development is not only seen by educators but also how educational systems
offer professional development.
As educational leaders grapple with conflicting directions and expectations imposed by
governmental and educational systems, it is the responsibility of teachers in schools to be
vigilant to the needs of their students. Even though research on effective schools
highlight the classroom teacher is best placed to impact more deeply on learning
outcomes for our students (Crowther, 2012; Hattie, 2003; Katzenmeyer & Moller, 2001),
the mandates, policy and directives handed down to schools overshadows the classroom
teacher. To this end, our support (as principals and system authority leaders) for the
classroom teacher needs to take on renewed vigor. The complexity of school life in an
era of increased accountability necessitates greater support for teachers to ensure we
meet student needs.
As we become more in tune with how students learn, we begin to focus on the ‘how’ we
are delivering learning to meet their needs. With the advent of the internet paradigm, a
new educational era is developing. The access to knowledge is now, not only at our
fingertips but also, at our own discretion and choosing.
With the growth of technological devices and the gradual low cost access, society is
embracing the entertainment and immediacy value of the internet. Through the growth
in tools such as ‘applications’ and web 2.0 tools, students are spending increasing
amounts of time on the entertainment aspect of such programs. Educationally, with the
opportunity for 24/7 access the internet offers learners on demand access allowing
learning to occur not only out of school time but also external to what is being taught in
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the classroom. For instance, if a child has an interest in dinosaurs they do not necessarily
need the school to provide any information on dinosaurs. Access to websites, online
groups, following experts on twitter and the like will aid the child in quenching their
thirst for ‘dinosaur’ knowledge.
This ‘out of school’ learning is beginning to impact upon learning inside school. Student
use of the internet to keep up to date both socially and professionally fosters not only
student use of the internet but a deeper understanding of the technology. Not surprising
is the fact that teachers who are not engaged with the technology are losing touch with
their students (Prensky, 2010). Disappointingly, with the lack of discussion and debate,
schools are continuing to ban and/or limit internet use as a means to control the
inevitable “inappropriate use” by students. Countering such views in some schools is the
movement towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). While it is suspected, the motive
for many schools is more financial than educational; it is a move in the right direction.
The rise of the internet paradigm has major implications for schools and the nature of
teaching. The question of what constitutes learning and what students need (ie the
purpose of schooling) at the end of their time at school in order to take up their place in
society as a productive citizen is challenging schools. That is, what are the skills and
values that one will need to enter the workforce? And how should the school cater for
learning these skills?
Here we have guidance from research and the trends in employment/industries.
Evidence abounds that employers are looking at a specific skill set, often referred to as
21
st
century skills (ie. problem solving, showing initiative, collaboration, self directed,
strong interpersonal skills, etc). It is reasonable to deduce that for schools to address
such skills greater professional development will be required. Furthermore, it provides
significant implications for schools implementing and operating in an industrial view of
learning.
In using the internet as a vehicle to enhance learning, the traditional methodology of
teaching is now under threat. As our students grow and learn in a different world, so
must the way teachers deliver learning needs to grow and change.
Thus springs a need for a new pedagogy to meet the changing needs of how students
learn. Consequently it raises our first issue of engaging teachers not only in defining the
new pedagogy but also investing time and effort into learning it.
Working with teachers, who in their undergraduate years were educated during the
“traditional” tertiary teaching programs and developed the industrial teaching habits, is a
challenge. While some researchers (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2007; Dinham,
Ingvarson, & Kleinhenz, 2008; Lynch, 2012; Smith & Lynch, 2010) argue for a rethink of
the undergraduate teacher education program, the reality of the aging teacher workforce
is problematic for schools trying to ‘re-educate’ current teachers. It is these teachers,
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educated in a stand and deliver era, that are often barriers to embracing a new model of
teaching and learning.
“If we teach our children as we did yesterday we rob them of the future” (John Dewey)
It is clear that education has changed and that technology is seen as the catalyst for the
change. In the workplace, a new model of professional learning is occurring. Led by
companies like Google and Apple the focus is on working collegially and in an
environment that values conversation, creativity and collaboration.
Consequently, employers are seeking graduates with attributes such as higher order
thinking skills, problem solving, critical thinking, independence and interdependence.
Employers look for graduates who show initiative, have resilience and are confident
within themselves. Notwithstanding the need for strong intellect, the shift away from the
‘knowledgeable’ employee to the employee who can access knowledge in a ‘just in time’
world is becoming more desirable.
Consequence for Schools
In an era where the workforce was dominated by the industrial era, the role of schools
was to produce graduates to fulfill those roles. However, our understanding of how
students learn has evolved. Students today are multi taskers, technologically engaged and
readily adaptable to meet the challenges in front of them.
If we want students to graduate from schools with the skills employers are craving for,
and we have a deeper understanding of how students learn, then the building of an
environment that supports the pedagogy required to foster the learning of these skills
needs urgent attention.
When discussing the purpose of schooling today there are a number of references
(Cameron, 2011; Ministerial Council on Education Employment Training and Youth
Affairs, 2008) that guide the conversation, however, for the practitioners - principals and
classroom teachers, the concern is on improving classroom practices that facilitate
student learning, that in turns prepares our students for the globalised workplace.
Every teacher must be a professional in his or her approach to teaching; Professional in
the sense of the corporate world - meeting goals, meeting students’ needs and being held
accountable for student learning.
There are a number of factors that are forcing a change in the shape of schooling,
including:
Digital technology and accessibilitythe increased volume of knowledge; the
ease of access to it; and transformed communication, collaboration and
connectivity. There is a paradigm shift in learning (industrial to 21
st
century role
of the internet). In his book “Whatever! School 2.0: The Pedagogy of Learning in
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the 21st Century”, Mark Treadwell outlines the new education paradigm which is
being driven by the growing opportunities provided by the internet (Treadwell,
2008).
Global Financial Crisis education budgets across the developed world are
tightening, while developing countries have limited opportunity for the kind of
investment in public services historically enjoyed by the developed world.
Globalisation communities, economies and education itself are now globally
connected. With rapid advances in technology, increases in global trade, and the
availability of highly educated workers from around the world, our future
workers will increasingly need advanced skills to remain competitive.
Demography rapid population growth in developing countries is increasing
demand for education, while the developed world’s ageing population will require
lifelong learning to remain current.
How should education be structured to meet the needs of students in this 21
st
century
world? How do we now define “School”, “Teacher” “Learner” and “Curriculum”?
Students and adults themselves are becoming more reliant on social networking
technologies to connect, collaborate, learn, and create. This is an important fact and one
that educators need to mindful of when implementing school improvement programs.
Furthermore, it is imperative that in designing educational change for schools, educators
take into account the changes that are occurring outside school.
As learners change, the concept of a teaching model built for an industrial era is now
antiquated. The industrial model of education allows for one way of teaching and for one
style of ‘learner’. The teacher centred delivery of learning narrows the learning
opportunities for the student. With the advent of the internet revolution, life outside the
classroom has become more engaging and inspiring and students are able to navigate to
learning of their choice.
As employers adapt to a changing globalization way of doing business, they are looking
for new sets of skills. Unless the way schools do ‘business’ changes they won’t be able to
produce graduates that meet both the expectations and the needs of employers.
It is here that the conundrum for educators occurs. The need to implement static
curricula without pedagogical input leaves teachers following the same path they have
always trod. The world is collaborative and schools need to be collaborative. As teachers
we need to work in groups, to problem solve and to be critical thinkers. Academic
development is one thing, strong interpersonal skills and being able to get along are
equally important.
Not all students learn in the same way. There are different modalities of learning
(listening, doing) as there are different intelligences (musical, spatial, kinesthetic). With
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the view that we are all good at something, connecting to what we are already good at
would enhance our learning.
With schools, particularly in the primary sector, reimaging the fabric of both the physical
and educational learning structures in the school the question on staffing needs is raised.
The classroom teacher of today, as iterated previously, needs a different skill set from the
teacher trained in an era for an industrial viewpoint of schooling.
Unfortunately, the view that if teachers are not engaging technology they won’t be
teaching using the technology is a reality for most schools. This disconnect between what
students are engaged without side school and what they are participating in the school
hours 9.00am 3.00pm, is proving to be problematic. “If the rate of change outside school is
greater than the rate of change inside school, we are moving backwards!”
Nature of teacher learning
There have been tremendous rumblings around the role of higher education in preparing
the teacher graduate for schooling today. Literature response in this area is growing with
a strong argument for a renewed pedagogical approach to undergraduate programs (L.
Ingvarson, 2006; Smith & Lynch, 2010).
It is incumbent upon both the school and tertiary sector to work collaboratively to
ensure our new teaching graduates are able to attend to the 21
st
century learner. We need
21st century teacher learners to engage with 21st century student learners.
McCrindle & Wolfinger, in discussing the differences between the six generations co-
existing in Australia (more generations living and working together than ever before)
believe that 'Generation Alpha' is the latest to arrive (McCrindle & Wolfinger, 2010) and
will need specific learning environments to cater for their learning needs.
When reflecting on students we often refer to the adolescent but as David Warner (2006)
reflects:
“And what of those young people just starting their school years? We now have five year olds
who can install and play sophisticated computer games and use sophisticated learning tools on
CDs; seven year olds who first look on the internet for information they want; fifteen year olds
downloading films produced solely for internet users” (Warner, 2006, p.24)
This sentiment is further explored by Brown (2001):
“Today’s digital kids think of information and communications technology (ICT) as something
akin to oxygen: they expect it, it’s what they breathe, and it’s how they live.” (Brown, 2001,
p.69)
This being the case, how we address their learning needs is (if not already it should be)
the key question educators are searching answers for.
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As learners are changing so should schools. If research is accurate, our students are
spending an increasing proportion of their ‘out of school’ time on technology related
activities (using mobile phones, internet usage, online gaming). This being the case, it
would be logical to ensure that the ‘in school’ classroom instruction should engage
similar type strategies for learning. Schools may need to model student life on their
‘outside the classroom’ activities to foster greater in class student engagement.
Web 2.0 tools offer new skills needed for emerging industries. Globalisation is
encouraging creativity as traditional occupations (accounting, insurance, banking)
become more global interactive. Such trends in the employment sector, as this
interaction orientated economy drives competition, is placing pressure on school systems
to produce graduates with a specific 21
st
century skill set to support the demands of the
new workplace.
21
st
Century Skills
There has been a lot written about the need for schools to address the issue of 21
st
century skills. Lee Crockett
1
argues the skills students need to acquire to succeed in the
21st century have been written into nearly all education system curricula. For example,
Australia’s national curricula label these “General Capabilities”; New Zealand houses
them under “Key Competencies”.
Each of these curriculum frameworks incorporates a 21
st
century skills set that enables to
the students to develop capabilities in:
Problem solving and decision making
Creative and critical thinking
Collaboration and communication
Inquiry
The end goal is for students to be independent learners who are self-reflecting and self-
regulating leading to a lifelong learner who is both flexible and able to adapt to change.
To do this we need educators who model such attributes.
Building A Collaborative Staff Conversation
Often for teachers, when talking about supporting student learning, the focus is on the
student and not the teaching. It takes time to develop a culture around teaching practice.
When engaging a professional community approach (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many,
2010) suggest a couple of key pointers to help the conversation lead to improved
teaching practice:
1. When discussing observation on student learning – focus on the grade as a whole
and not simply spending the majority of time on individual students.
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&Lee&Crockett&–&Keynote&speaker&at&2012&ACEL&Conference,&“An&Inquiring&Min d :&U nleashing&New&Ide a s&f o r&t h e &C onceptual&Age”.&
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2. The whole purpose for Professional Learning Communities (PLC) is to focus on
action and not on excuses or the reasons (outside of school) why the child is not
achieving success. This is called the “If only…” syndrome.
3. PLCs should focus on the strengths and should not be ‘deficit’ model thinking.
Teachers should start the conversations with celebrations of success and then
move towards conversations on how to improve learning in their cohort.
4. The professionalism of the teacher is more effective than implementing a
‘program’ (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012). Effective teachers have expertise and are
able to discern what students’ needs are. Trust is an important commodity in
schools today.
All teachers have a desire to be excellent, effective teachers who want improve their
instruction. Yet, Knight (Knight, 2013) puts forward an important question in his book
titled High-Impact Instruction:
“If teachers desire to be excellent, then why, some might ask, does it seem some are no longer
interested in that quest? Why aren’t more teachers excited about the opportunity to learn?”
(Knight, 2013, p. 3)
He goes on to state:
“One reason why many teachers aren’t striving to be their best is that poorly designed
professional learning can actually inhibit growth by de-professionalizing teachers, treating them
like workers on an assembly line rather than professionals doing emotionally complicated
knowledge work.” (Knight, 2013, p. 3)
Providing opportunities for teachers to share their opinions about learning in forums like
PLCs opens the doors to shared understanding and fosters community building; a critical
ingredient for increasing teacher efficacy.
Understanding the Nature of Professional Development
Teachers report serious constraints around the common forms of professional
development (in particular inservice, conferences, guest speakers) including cost, timing,
and accessibility.
However, with the rise of social media, the role of and access to professional
development for teachers is vastly changing. Improving teacher practice requires a
renewed look at how professional development is seen by educators. Evidence highlights
that teachers learn best from their peers. The proviso is that the teachers from whom
they are learning must also be focused on best practice.
For Richard Elmore, teacher learning occurs as part of their day to day work (Elmore,
2004). Elmore notes that “improvement is a function of learning to do the right thing in
the setting in which you work” (p.73).
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There has been an increased focus on the nature of collaboration in fostering school
improvement. The rise of professional learning communities (PLC) is being touted as a
vehicle for improving student learning. The core focus of the PLC is student
achievement and the discussion centres on teacher’s professional practice. The
assumption is that if you improve teacher practice you will improve student learning.
However, research educators note that it is not sufficient for teachers to work out
collaboration on their own (Fullan, 2010). There needs to be a collective capacity for
collaboration focused on and supported by relevant professional learning for teachers
that helps them employ new teaching strategies. This needs to be a whole school
approach.
A process for developing expectations of practice, requiring strong collaborative
measures by staff, is the promotion of professional learning communities. In PLCs, the
use of collaborative time together with agreed structures for discussion, will progress the
‘whole school’ implementation of the new pedagogy.
While the very essence of PLCs is a focus on and commitment to improving student
learning, it is the ‘how’ (ie the work of teachers) that begins the path to improvement.
Focusing on individual teacher practice, making changes to their teaching strategies and
differentiating learning to meet individual students’ specific needs becomes part of the
PLC discussion agenda.
However, improving teachers individually is one stratagem. There have been many
examples/models of inspections/feedback that focuses on the individual. In a cohort
framework of teaching, the need to move from an individual focus to a group focus is
needed.
Daniel Pink, in his book “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” offers the view
that the need to encourage educators to reflect honestly, meaningfully and with some
rigor on feedback is a pivotal part of the teacher improvement process (Pink, 2010). It
enables the educator to identify gaps in their learning leading to fostering the processes
to improve teacher performance. Pink goes on to explain that feedback should be
frequent and this brings us to a second issue. Unfortunately, schools might provide
professional feedback once a year (if at all). Further, the feedback given is often pastoral
and not meaningful or useful in leading to an improved teacher performance.
If the focus is on 21
st
century skills then it is expected that the lesson/delivery of learning
should be structured to incorporate activities to attain the 21
st
century skills (ie if
collaboration is essential, opportunities to collaborate are essential, if critical thinking is
essential then higher order questions/graphic organisers should be common place).
In focusing on the new pedagogy the next step is to support teachers in implementing
this new order. This involves working with teachers strategically to identify areas of
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improvement in their teaching practice and then to provide intervention to enable the
teacher to address the improvement areas.
The question arises! How do we support teachers, who trained in a different era, develop
the skills necessary to implement the new pedagogy?
Initially, our research indicates that staff will need the inner desire to change their
practice (Madden, 2012a, 2012b; Madden, Wilks, Maoine, Loader, & Robinson, 2012).
Unless the teacher has the will to make changes not much will change in the classroom.
This inner desire is influenced by teacher commitment to the change and this is
determined by whether the teacher sees value and meaningfulness in the change. More
importantly teachers need to have a deep understanding before they will embark upon
the change. To do this the intensive attention to professional development is necessary.
A focus on a renewed view of professional development emanating from the
complexities of teaching and learning has been on the agenda for a number of years. This
is evidenced in the following:
‘‘The vision of practice that underlies the nation’s reform agenda requires most teachers to
rethink their own practice, to construct new classroom roles and expectations about student
outcomes, and to teach in ways they have never taught before” (Darling-Hammond &
McLaughlin, 1995).
Taking this further, aligning the delivery of effective professional development is not the
need to focus on what needs to be taught (curriculum) but rather on the how to teach
(pedagogy). With the focus on teacher practice (see Australian Institute of Teacher and
School Leadership
2
) moving to de-privatisation of teaching practice is seen as a means to
support the spotlight on pedagogy (Madden et al., 2012).
Conclusion
It has been argued that technological advances in recent years has seen not only an
increase in teacher workload but also a need to shift the delivery of learning from teacher
centred approach to one where the student is the centre of learning. The nature of
students entering school is changing and the need to change teaching methodologies to
accommodate a new era of student learning is evident.
Improving professional learning for teachers is a fundamental component in improving
student achievement. To meet new Federal Government requirements and public
expectations for school and student performance, a renewed focus on teacher learning is
needed. For this to occur, schools, with the support of their education systems, need a
sustained whole school approach.
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&www.aitsl.edu.au&
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While there have been many efforts to define what constitutes ‘good professional
development, there is agreement that most effective professional learning practices
engage teachers in identifying what they needed to learn and planning the learning
experiences (Cameron, 2011; Goe, Biggers, & Croft, 2012). As teachers learn new skills
they need time to test them in the classroom, make adjustments and share their learning
with colleagues. Effective professional development include “activities that lead teachers
to deprivatise their practice and gain feedback about their teaching from colleagues” (L
Ingvarson, Meiers, & Beavis, 2005, p. 16)
References
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... While much has been written on teacher quality and what constitutes its effectiveness in recent years, education systems have begun strategies to focus their school leaders to take active roles in improving the teaching of each teacher (see for example Madden, 2013b and Lynch, et al, 2014). ...
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This chapter focuses on the important role that teachers play in raising student achievement. As chapters in this book will illustrate, improvements in teaching performance can be sustainably supported by the implementation of a ‘job embedded’ approach to professional learning. The thesis of this chapter is that the ‘Teacher As Researcher’ construct is a tangible way of engaging teachers in professional learnings that have direct impact on their own learning need and that of their students.
... www.ijicc.net Volume 1, Issue 2, November 2013 opportunities to develop new pedagogies for addressing the learning needs of the 21 st century student is an urgent task (Madden, 2013). ...
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To create the outstanding school you need to have outstanding teachers. Research tells us that to strengthen the teaching proficiency of staff, schools need to take a collective and collaborative approach to growing the professional capacity within their teaching force. This book is full of vignettes illustrating how professional learning can be integrated into the day-to-day work of schools and, in doing so, focus on continuous improvement, enhancing teaching quality and raising student achievement. In presenting best practice exemplars to illustrate how professional learning can positively impact teaching quality and school improvement, this book will inspire each classroom teacher and school leader. It will support them in creating and sustaining a strong performance culture. In an era of evidence based practice the spotlight is shining brightly on teacher performance. Consequently, professional learning opportunities where teachers engage in close collaboration with colleagues is essential for improving teacher’s knowledge about content, students, and pedagogy. Teachers become more skilful in planning for teaching and learning when they work with colleagues to put research into practice through supportive, sustained and continuous professional learning. When teachers lead from the middle to action school improvement strategies, the impact upon school life is significant. Teachers who analyse and reflect on how students learn best and make changes to improve their own teaching practice is a sign of instructional leadership. Teachers as Researchers: Creating Outstanding Schools is evidence of instructional leadership in action. Each chapter explores an action research project that engaged Expert Teams in meaningful professional learning in a personalized and context-specific approach
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Generational issues are a perennial favourite. Analysing one’s own generation and comparing it to the next is of great interest to the media and the public alike. With more generations coexisting than ever before – in the home, school, workplace and marketplace – this interest has never been more so than today. Indeed, media coverage on the generations, particularly the younger, emerging generations, abounds in an attempt to appease our desire to better understand and engage with each other: our employees, colleagues, students and children. I am contacted almost daily – by the media, business men and women, and parents – to talk about the generations. With this saturation of media on the generations, identifying what is fact and what is hype and conjecture can be a challenge. While some generational commentary reads much like an astrological chart, genuine research-based generational studies now form an important part of sociology. Yet it is more than an academic discipline. The insights and applications that flow from robust generational analysis is of great value to business leaders, educators and parents. Generational segmentation, like any professional discipline, is only useable when conducted by experts.
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This March 2011 article is a reprint of the original April 1995 (V76N8) article and includes a new one-page introduction (on page 67 of this issue) by one of the authors. The policy problem for professional development in this era of reform extends beyond mere support for teachers' acquisition of new skills or knowledge-professional development today also means providing occasions for teachers to reflect critically on their practice and to fashion new knowledge and beliefs about content, pedagogy, and learners. The authors define effective professional development, examine the new institutional forms that support this kind of development, and also examine ways in which existing arrangements can be rethought or redesigned to support reformers' visions of practice and teachers' professional growth. Finally, they consider aspects of the larger education policy context that foster or impede teachers' incentives and ability to acquire new knowledge, skills, and conceptions of practice.
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With professional learning communities being touted in Australia has a panacea to enhancing teacher quality elsewhere in the world, namely Canada and the UK, have moved towards deprivatising teaching. This notion builds on the view that teaching is not about a personal experience where teachers work and learn in isolation to their peers. Rather it is a collaborative experience where student learning is enhanced through teacher learning. Further, the classroom as we know it, is rapidly changing to not only foster the practice of deprivatising teaching but also to enable a learning environment to best meet the needs of the 21st century learner. Consequently this paper explains one school’s approach to implementing curriculum change to meet a growing conceptualisation in Australia of learning in and for the 21st century. Through recounting a series of planned strategic events, it highlights the benefits of consultative practices and articulates the importance of engaging the role of distributive leadership as a key element for fostering school improvement.
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From the people who turned teacher education on its ear in Australia in 2001 comes a text about preparing the next generation of teachers. Richard Smith and David Lynch, two of Australia's leading teacher education researchers and the architects of the acclaimed Bachelor of Learning Management program (BLM), take their previously published ideas about teaching and teacher education further to detail a new paradigm in the preparation of teachers. Drawing on 30 years of teacher education research and their own experiences in redeveloping teacher education in Australia, Smith and Lynch investigate teacher education now and into the future.
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It appears that teachers and teacher educators have fossilized in their resolve to continue doing what they’ve always done, despite calls for fundamental change. So, what does "a changed world" actually mean for teachers and teacher educators? How might society prepare teachers for this changed world and what are the new capabilities that such a program should focus on? What does fundamental change in teaching and teacher education actually look like? This book is about teacher education reform and seeks to answer these and other questions. More specifically the book aims to showcase a disruptive model in teacher education and answer some of the ponderings around what teacher education could be and how it could be organized differently for the different world in which teachers now have to operate. The book showcases an innovative Australian teacher education program and reviews the research findings of such a program in terms of graduate teacher outcomes.
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Schools today face a different kind of world to the one that most teachers participated in when they were young. For example, the structure and character of families has changed from the nuclear family of the ‘home’ and the nurturing family assumed in much of the curriculum development today (OECD, 2008). There are new patterns of employment and underemployment, greater mobility and new concentrations of poverty in both rural and urban settings. School systems and their students reflect such social and demographic changes and as society enters a fundamentally new era in human society---the Knowledge Age--- the pressure on schools to address these challenges intensifies (Smith & Lynch, 2010). Over the past decade or so the schooling system has come into sharp focus as governments of all persuasions realize the need for a robust and effective education sector in an emerging knowledge based society. Government initiatives such as; ‘MySchool’; NAPLAN; the introduction of a national curriculum and various state based accountability mechanisms are signals for ‘change demands’ in the current schooling paradigm: at centre of this commotion is the school principal. In specific terms, the work of the principal, like that of teachers, has become more complex. There is a greater emphasis upon raising levels of student engagement and achievement for social and economic purposes. Consequently, assessing school performance through a range of formal accountability measures has now become common place (Newman, King & Rigdon, 1997). As the emphasis upon rationalistic means-ends approaches to education has grown, models of school effectiveness have been characterised by segmented rather than holistic approaches to the education of students and many teachers have become disenchanted with teaching. Having now served as a school principal for close on twenty years, I can confirm such pressures for change. This brings me to the purpose of the book. The book essentially is encourage principals to enhancing leadership capacity within their schools. I decided to compile the book for two reasons. First, I wanted to share some research on the relationships between principals and their staff members, which has proven to be a key factor in raising student standards in the schools. Second, I wanted to present to fellow principals and those who aspire to same, an evidence-based case study into the principalship as a point for professional discourse and for strengthening the knowledge base around effective school leadership. Listening to principals and senior leadership personnel in schools share insights into leading their schools was a most humbling experience. The underlying theme in this book is a discourse the says ‘the school principal has a critical role in developing a school culture that is focused on enhanced learning outcomes and that teachers as leaders within the school is a powerful extension to the engendering of change and improvement within the school’. Let me now outline the structure of the book. This book has two inter-related parts. Part One houses Chapters One through to Five and introduces the notion of teacher as leader and contextualises how such a notion enhances school improvement. This outline provides the reader with an understanding of the foundations on which the study into how the principal not only builds leadership capacities within each teacher but also how the distributing of leadership responsibilities positively impacts upon student learning. Part Two of the book draws on a qualitative study into how principals nurtured teacher leadership and provides strong evidence for the discourse outlined in Part One as well as providing a way forward for leaders. Of interest to principals and school leaders are the four key research questions that guided the study. Answering these questions will, I argue, provide school leaders with a rich array of strategies to lead improvement in their own school settings. In essence the following questions are at the heart of what I think school leaders need to commit to when developing a culture for school improvement. • What factors are perceived by staff to impact on school improvement experiences initiated by the school leaders? • How do principals nurture the professional development of the school curriculum officer and teachers? • What motivates teachers to remain committed to teaching and learning? • How do principals engage teachers in the school reform process? Part Two concludes with a number of practical stratagems for school leaders to consider when building a school improvement climate in their schools.
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Based on rapid advances in what is known about how people learn and how to teach effectively, this important book examines the core concepts and central pedagogies that should be at the heart of any teacher education program. This book was edited in collaboration with Pamela LePage, Karen Hammerness, and Helen Duffy. It is the result of the National Academy of Education's Committee's work on teacher education. It was written for teacher educators in both traditional and alternative programs, university and school system leaders, teachers, staff development professionals, researchers, and educational policymakers, the book addresses the key foundational knowledge for teaching and discusses how to implement that knowledge within the classroom. This book recommends that, in addition to strong subject matter knowledge, all new teachers have a basic understanding of how people learn and develop, as well as how children acquire and use language, which is the currency of education. In addition, the book suggests that teaching professionals must be able to apply that knowledge in developing curriculum that attends to students' needs, the demands of the content, and the social purposes of education: in teaching specific subject matter to diverse students, in managing the classroom, assessing student performance, and using technology in the classroom. The ideas and suggestions outlined in this book have far-reaching implications for educational policy, classroom practice, and staff development and will go a long way toward informing the next generation of teachers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)