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Abstract

Nations around the world are currently embarked in deep reforms of their education systems. There is widespread agreement among policymakers, scholars, and educators that one of the keys for success during these reforms is promoting the professional development (PD) of in-service teachers. Every year, governments invest astronomical amounts of money on teacher continuous learning. However, the literature shows that much of the PD offered to teachers is inefficient, having small or no effect on teaching practices and/or student learning. This monograph describes the perspectives and approaches to teacher PD of five nations heavily committed to research and/or practice in this field. Understanding how PD is structured in these nations may guide others in designing more favorable learning opportunities for their teachers. The article from United States provides a general framework regarding the features of high-quality PD and offers examples of recent effective initiatives. The four following articles describe the PD models of Australia, Hong Kong, Finland, and Singapore, among the highest-achievers in education presently. Because teacher continuous learning is a high priority in these nations, strong infrastructures for high-quality PD have been built to meet teachers' needs and interests. The monograph closes with a contribution from Spain, the country where the journal Psychology, Society and Education is edited. The author discusses the five prior articles and reflects on how the ideas presented could improve the PD currently offered to teachers in other nations, particularly Spain.
© Psychology, Society, & Education, 2015. Vol. 7(3), pp. 240-251
ISSN 2171-2085 (print) / ISSN 1989-709X (online)
Teacher Professional Development:
International Perspectives and Approaches
Alfredo BAUTISTA* & Rosario ORTEGA-RUIZ**
(*) Nanyang Technological University, National Institute of Education (Singapore)
(**) University of Córdoba, Department of Psychology (Spain)
ABSTRACT: Nations around the world are currently embarked in deep reforms of their
education systems. There is widespread agreement among policymakers, scholars, and
educators that one of the keys for success during these reforms is promoting the
professional development (PD) of in-service teachers. Every year, governments invest
astronomical amounts of money on teacher continuous learning. However, the literature
shows that much of the PD offered to teachers is inefficient, having small or no effect on
teaching practices and/or student learning. This monograph describes the perspectives and
approaches to teacher PD of five nations heavily committed to research and/or practice in
this field. Understanding how PD is structured in these nations may guide others in
designing more favorable learning opportunities for their teachers. The article from United
States provides a general framework regarding the features of high-quality PD and offers
examples of recent effective initiatives. The four following articles describe the PD models
of Australia, Hong Kong, Finland, and Singapore, among the highest-achievers in education
presently. Because teacher continuous learning is a high priority in these nations, strong
infrastructures for high-quality PD have been built to meet teachers’ needs and interests.
The monograph closes with a contribution from Spain, the country where the journal
Psychology, Society and Education is edited. The author discusses the five prior articles and
reflects on how the ideas presented could improve the PD currently offered to teachers in
other nations, particularly Spain.
Keywords: professional development, in-service teachers, education change, comparative
education
Correspondence: Alfredo Bautista, Research Scientist & Lecturer. Nanyang Technological
University - National Institute of Education. Education & Cognitive Development Lab. 1
Nanyang Walk. NIE5-B3-16. Singapore [637616]. Phone: (+65) 6219 6256. Fax: (+65)
6896 9845. E-mail: Alfredo.Bautista@nie.edu.sg
How to cite this article?
Bautista, A., & Ortega-Ruíz, R. (2015). Teacher professional development: International
perspectives and approaches. Psychology, Society and Education, 7(3), 240-251.
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Introduction
We live in an increasingly globalized world, where countries are subject to massive
economic, political, and technological changes. Education is also undergoing rapid
transformations under the effects of globalization. However, despite its importance in
shaping our future, education is not always analyzed according to the parameters that
have yielded high quality results in certain educational systems. Local policies still
prevail over scientific knowledge in determining the direction of most nations with
regards to education. This monograph draws on the idea that making explicit the
parameters that define high-quality education is essential in today’s globalized world.
In particular, the present monograph focuses on how to best promote and facilitate
the professional development (PD) of teachers in the 21st century.
Teacher PD involves many processes, actions, and mechanisms which are
inevitably mediated by the cultural, social, political, and economic features and
conditions of each particular context (Tan & Dimmock, 2014). In the frame of a
complex (situational, contextual, ecological) theoretical perspective (Opfer & Peder,
2011), our interest in this monograph is to showcase the perspectives and approaches
to teacher PD of certain nations heavily committed to research and/or practice in this
field. Some of the questions that motivated this monograph were: What models are
adopted in countries that have developed highly effective and/or innovative PD
initiatives over the past years? What are the similarities in the ways teachers engage
in PD activities in these countries? What are the differences? What kinds of
challenges do these nations face? How do cultural, social, political, and economic
factors shape PD practices across the globe? We thought that exploring these topics
was a worthwhile effort, with the potential to enrich our understanding of the
mechanisms that underlie teacher learning in our current globalized world.
Teachers in an Era of Educational Reforms
Nations around the world are currently embarked in deep reforms of their
education systems. One of the most substantial changes introduced relates to the
dramatic transformation in the types and nature of learning outcomes expected from
students. Ambitious learning goals, including both academic and non-academic
outcomes, have been set in many countries (Todd, 2010).
The purpose of today’s school is not simply to deliver subject matter
knowledge (mathematics, science, language, etc.) and prepare students for their
future professional careers. The purpose is rather to educate 21st century citizens:
active, self-directed, confident and concerned learners, competent not only
cognitively but also emotionally, socially, and technologically. It is also important to
educate students who are able to make responsible decisions, equipping them with
the so-called 21st century competences and skills (able to think critically and
creatively, to communicate and collaborate with others effectively, aware of global
and cross-cultural issues, etc.) (Burnaford, Brown, Doherty, & McLaughlin, 2007).
Another important change introduced by reforms in many nations has to do with the
goal of promoting equity and social justice in schools (e.g., Apple, 2001). The
expectation is for schools to work equitably and effectively for all learners in ever
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more diverse classrooms, hence contributing to a better, more just and free society
(Kaur, 2012).
Changes of this magnitude necessarily require profound transformations in
curriculum and instructional practices, in what and how teachers teach to students
(Bautista, Tan, Ponnusamy, & Yau, 2015). Indeed, teachers are key to the success of
reform initiatives, as they are ultimately the ones in charge of enacting these
initiatives within the classroom (Guskey, 2002). In the 21st century, teachers are
expected to play a variety of roles in schools. Fulfilling these roles requires a wide
range of professional and personal competencies (Darling-Hammond, Chung Wei,
Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009). Teachers need to be able to provide all
students with opportunities for deep and meaningful learning, thereby fostering their
holistic development. Being a teacher also requires being able to work collaboratively
with others (including colleagues and parents), seeking out opportunities for further
learning within and beyond the school. Furthermore, teachers need to possess certain
personal values that allow them to act as leaders of social change. They need to be
able to maintain high-quality content instruction while adopting a social justice
orientation, helping students to recognize and undermine patterns of injustice and
oppression. In a nutshell, teachers need to believe that every single student can learn
(Darling-Hammond et al., 2009). Ensuring that teachers are appropriately equipped
with this sophisticated array of competencies (e.g., knowledge and skills related to
professional practice, collaboration and leadership, integrity and commitment to
education and social change, etc.) is therefore essential to guarantee the success of
educational reforms (Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Kwang, 2001). However,
research has shown that many teachers need intensive guidance and support to be
able to teach according to innovative principles (Borko, 2004). In fact, scholars have
argued that many prior initiatives for educational improvement have not
accomplished the intended goals because they failed to provide teachers with
appropriate learning opportunities (Fullan & Miles, 1992).
There is widespread agreement among policymakers, scholars, and educators
that promoting the professional development (PD) of in-service teachers is a
cornerstone to achieve the ambitious goals of educational reforms (Desimone, Porter,
Garet, Yoon, & Birman, 2002). Indeed, there is currently general consensus that the
quality of an education system cannot be higher than the quality of its teachers
(Barber & Mourshed, 2007). For this reason, many nations across the world are
investing in the continuous learning of their teachers as a major engine for the
improvement of both teacher competency and student academic success (Darling-
Hammond, Chung Wei, & Andree, 2010). As pointed out by Knight (2002),
providing teachers with opportunities for PD is essential because initial teacher
education programs cannot provide them with all the competencies that are needed in
the classroom, especially the procedural (“how to”) skills, which primarily develop in
practical settings. The expectation for today’s teachers is to embrace life-long
learning to be able to constantly adapt to new situations and respond to the changing
demands of society in the classroom. Moreover, providing teachers with PD
opportunities commonly improves their job commitment and satisfaction, hence
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having positive effects over attrition and turnover (Dede, Ketelhut, Whitehouse,
Breit, & McCloskey, 2009).
Defining Teacher Professional Development (PD)
The literature presents multiple conceptualizations regarding the scope, focus,
and goals of teacher professional development (PD). One of the aspects where there
is no full consensus is the target audience of PD. Most authors within the anglosaxon
research community argue that PD is all about in-service teachers, as only these can
be truly regarded as professionals (Little, 1993). In this perspective, teacher PD is
seen as equivalent to in-service teacher education (continuing, ongoing). In contrast,
other authors understand that teacher education programs are part of teachers’
professional journey, therefore arguing that student teachers (pre-service) can be also
considered as the target audience of teacher PD activities (Niemi, 2015). This
monograph includes articles based on both perspectives.
With regards to the focus and main goals of PD, authors such as Borko (2004)
and Desimone et al. (2002) conceive teacher PD to be an essential mechanism for
enhancing teachers’ knowledge and instructional practices. Bringing about changes in
teachers’ attitudes and beliefs is, for authors like Guskey (2002), another major
objective of PD. More recently, authors such as Kazemi and Hubbard (2008) and
Opfer and Peder (2011) have emphasized the need for more complex understandings,
arguing that PD has the potential to impact many aspects of teachers’ professional
and personal lives, impacting on teachers’ knowledge, competences, and values. In
this monograph, we subscribe to the definition proposed by Avalos (2011), as it
nicely articulates a number of relevant topics that have been discussed in recent years
by researchers in the field. As captured in Avalos’ definition, we consider that the
focus and ultimate goal of teacher PD should be the benefit of students’ learning and
achievement.
“[…] professional development is about teachers learning, learning how to
learn, and transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit of their
students’ growth. Teacher professional learning is a complex process, which
requires cognitive and emotional involvement of teachers individually and
collectively, the capacity and willingness to examine where each one stands in
terms of convictions and beliefs and the perusal and enactment of appropriate
alternatives for improvement or change.” (Avalos, 2010; p.10)
The field of teacher PD constitutes a domain of research in its own right, with
its own set of theories and models (Avalos, 2011). During its three decades of life,
researchers have proposed multiple theoretical perspectives on how teachers learn
and change. These range from unidirectional (Guskey, 2002) and multidirectional
models (Desimone, 2009), in which teacher learning is conceived of as a rather direct
consequence of certain processes and conditions, to models based on complexity
theories (Opfer & Peder, 2011), in which teacher learning is conceptualized as a
rather unpredictable outcome of cyclical and dynamic processes.
The literature contains many types of studies, from small to large-scale,
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including quantitative, mixed-methods, and qualitative designs. Program evaluations
are probably the most common study type. In these, researchers have looked at the
impact of specific PD programs on teachers (e.g., whether and how PD fostered
changes in their beliefs, content knowledge, or pedagogies) and/or students (e.g.,
whether and how PD was associated to gains in learning, or better performance in
standardized tests). In addition, there have been many survey studies about teachers’
prior PD experiences, in-depth analysis of successful PD practices, and more
recently, experimental studies (e.g., cluster randomized trials) (for a synthesis of the
literature, see Avalos, 2011).
On the Effectiveness of Teacher PD
The field of teacher PD has accumulated solid knowledge of what works on the
ground and what doesn’t when it comes to promoting teacher learning. Most research
has yielded disappointing results with regards to the effectiveness of PD in helping
teachers improve their knowledge and instructional practices (e.g., Garet et al., 2008;
Garet et al., 2011; O’Dwyer et al., 2010; Powell, Diamond, Burchinal, & Koehler,
2010). Results are even more disappointing regarding impact on student learning and
achievement (e.g., Garet et al., 2008, 2011; O’Dwyer et al., 2010; Powell et al.,
2010). Every year, governments around the world invest astronomical amounts of
money on traditional PD activities such as seminars, talks, workshops, and
conferences (Gersten, Dimino, Jayanthi, Kim, & Santoro, 2010; Yoon, Duncan, Lee,
Scarloss, & Shapley, 2007), brief and sporadic events in which teachers tend to be
passive recipients of information, having no opportunities to collaborate with others.
Ball (1995) has referred to these activities as “style shows,” and Darling-Hammond
(2010) as the “spray and pray approach” given the lack of structures to provide
teachers with feedback and follow-up support. Scholars such as Borko (2004) argue
that these types of PD are “woefully inadequatebecause they tend to be fragmented
and intellectually superficial, disconnected from classroom practices, and unrelated to
teachers’ actual needs and interests.
These PD activities generally arise from local developers (who are oftentimes
not well-equipped with relevant knowledge on PD theory and practice), and have a
relatively short life and scope. In addition, they generally proceed with no more
formal evaluation than satisfaction surveys upon course completion (Darling-
Hammond, 2010). We know today that these traditional PD activities have very
limited or null potential to improve teachers “value added” scores, and therefore no
potential to benefit students (Hill, Beisiegel, & Jacob, 2013). However, perhaps due
to lack of better alternatives or ideas (Little, 1993), many schools and school districts
around the world continue to invest their resources in organizing these kinds of PD
events conducting one-off workshops, inviting university lecturers to give
specialized talks and seminars, or sending their teachers to costly conferences and
conventions once or twice per year. The return from the money put in this sector will
continue to be “weak” if schools and school districts keep investing exclusively in
these isolated PD activities (Odden, Archibald, Fermanich, & Alix Gallagher, 2002).
As pointed out by Guskey (2002), “to be successful, professional development
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must be seen as a process, not an event” (p. 388) and it needs to provide teachers with
“specific, concrete, and practical ideas that directly relate to the day-to-day operation
of their classrooms” (p. 382). Large-scale survey studies conducted in the United
States with teachers from different school subjects matters especially mathematics
and sciencehave identified a series of features related to the content and design of
PD programs that teachers tend to value positively. Scholars have referred to these
features as “features of high-quality PD” (e.g., Bautista, Cañadas, Brizuela, &
Schliemann, 2015; Borko, 2004; Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 2011;
Desimone, 2009; Garet et al., 2001). According to teachers’ self-reported data, PD
activities that present these features tend to have positive effects on their knowledge
and instructional practices.
With regards to content, high-quality PD focuses on the specific subject matter
that the teacher teaches in class (e.g., mathematics, science, history), thereby
providing the teacher with deeper understanding of the subject matter itself (content
knowledge), of pedagogical strategies to teach that specific content to students
(pedagogical knowledge), and of how students think of and learn the content
(knowledge of student thinking) (Carpenter, Fennema, Peterson, Chiang, & Loef,
1989; Penuel, Fishman, Yamaguchi, & Gallagher, 2007). High-quality PD is
“tailored” to teachers depending on their prior knowledge and level of expertise, is
coherent with and responsive to their needs and interests, and aligned with the
curricular requirements and standards of schools, districts and nations. Finally, high-
quality PD is voluntary and features elements of autonomy and choice (Putnam &
Borko, 2000).
Regarding design features (structure and working dynamics), high-quality PD
provides teachers with a) active learning opportunities, including activities to engage
in exploration, reflection and discussion; b) contexts for collective participation and
collegial sharing; c) constructive and non-prescriptive feedback; and d) sustained
follow-up support after program completion (Bautista et al., 2015; Desimone, 2009;
Sherin & Han, 2004). Teachers need extended periods of time to process and reflect
on the new ideas that are presented to them, try them out in class, and discuss them
with their colleagues. Thus, scholars have concluded that PD that truly fosters
teachers’ learning and change needs to be intensive and sustained, instead of short
and sporadic, involving significant numbers of contact hours over long periods of
time. Activities with longer duration are said to provide greater opportunities for
comprehensive analysis of subject content, pedagogies, and student thinking (Garet et
al., 2001). Similarly, activities spread over time including more than 20 hours of
contact time are generally more effective (Desimone, 2009).
Rationale and Structure
The title of the present monograph published by Psychology, Society and Education
(PSE) is “Teacher Professional Development: International Perspectives and
Approaches.” The monograph advocates a situational, contextual, and ecological
understanding of teacher PD. As pointed out by Opfer and Peder (2011), most
literature on teacher PD has focused on individual activities or programs, looking at
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them in isolation from the complex and dynamic environments in which teachers
live. In other words, researchers have been primarily concerned with the micro
factors and contexts of PD (e.g., the effect of isolated activities), ignoring influences
from the meso (institutional, school system) and the macro factors and contexts
(cultural, societal, political, economic).
To fill this gap in the literature, this monograph brings together a series of
articles that feature the perspectives and approaches to teacher PD of nations heavily
committed to research and/or practice in this field. In our invitation letter to the
authors, we explained that we were interested to learn about PD practices that had
proven to be particularly successful, powerful, and/or beneficial for teachers in their
respective countries. We encouraged the authors to offer general overviews of the PD
models in place within their respective nations, and we clarified that articles did not
have to be exclusively based on their own prior work and/or research. We offered the
authors several guiding questions to articulate their papers, such as: What is currently
working (or working “best”) in teacher PD in your nation? What are the theoretical
basis for those perspectives and approaches? What are the most important challenges
for teacher PD in your nation today? In your view, what are some possible future
venues for PD research and practice in your nation? What can other countries learn
from the way/s in which your own nation is addressing teacher PD? The authors were
given the freedom to tackle these questions or any others that they considered most
pertinent or interesting.
We invited authors from five countries in which, according to the literature,
highly effective and/or innovative PD initiatives have been designed and
implemented over the past years. One of the contributions comes from the United
States of America, surely the country that currently conducts the most cutting-edge
research in the field of teacher PD. We also invited contributions from Australia,
Hong Kong, Finland, and Singapore, some of the top-performers in education today
based on indicators such as students’ test scores in international comparisons,
graduation rates, and percentage of students pursuing higher education World
Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, see Schwab (2015).
The literature has shown that these nations have indeed established strong systems to
promote teacher learning, drawing on the tenets of effective professional learning
outlined by educational research (Wei, Darling-Hammond, Andree, Richardson, &
Orphanos, 2009). PD is considered to be a high priority in these countries, and
teachers are truly regarded as professionals (Darling-Hammond et al., 2010).
Understanding more about how these nations are succeeding has the potential to
inform PD policies and practices in other countries around the world. The monograph
closes with a contribution from Spain, the country where Psychology, Society and
Education is edited. The author discusses the five prior articles and reflects on how
the ideas presented could improve the PD currently offered to Spanish teachers.
We turn now to introduce the articles included in the monograph, following the
same order with which they are presented.
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United States of America
Laura M. Desimone and Michael S. Garet are the authors of “Best practices in
teachers’ professional development in the United States.” This article provides the
monograph with a general conceptual framework for effective PD. The authors begin
by presenting the original framework of critical features of “high-quality PD”
(Desimone, 2009), which suggests five key features that make PD successful: content
focus, active learning, coherence, sustained duration, and collective participation. The
authors continue by discussing the insights gained from recent U.S. research that has
tested these five features, based on which they propose a refined version of the
original framework. Desimone and Garet then examine the trends in how teacher PD
has evolved in the U.S. recently, and conclude by discussing the challenges faced by
schools and districts in implementing high-quality PD (Desimone & Garet, 2015).
Australia
The title of the second contribution is “An Australian perspective on teacher
professional development in supercomplex times.” In this article, Lorraine M. Ling
and Noella M. Mackenzie conceptualize teacher PD as a process involving multiple
stakeholders and influenced by governments and other external bodies. The authors
describe the kinds of PD initiatives currently offered to teachers in Australia, offering
illustrative examples in different content areas and educational levels. In addition, the
authors reflect on the kinds of PD opportunities that teachers may require in dealing
with what they call an “era of supercomplexity,” which is characterized by
uncertainty, insecurity, and an unknown and unknowable future. Ling and Mackenzie
present an interesting comparison between the existing PD opportunities in Australia
and the opportunities that, in their view, would be most desirable in today’s
supercomplex times (Ling & Mackenzie, 2015).
Finland
Hannele Niemi is the author of the third contribution, titled “Teacher
professional development in Finland: Towards a more holistic approach.” This article
defines teacher PD as a continuum that spans the entire career of a teacher, including
initial preparation programs. Niemi offers a comprehensive overview of the Finnish
perspectives and approaches to PD. Teachers in Finland are seen as developers of
themselves and the school community. Even during pre-service training, they are
provided with opportunities to work in contexts that foster their autonomy and
agency. Finnish teachers are equipped with competencies for research, which makes
them capable of designing school-based research projects. In this article, Niemi
describes four cases that illustrate how to support teacher PD through multi-
professional cooperation, promote pedagogical innovation through design-based
approaches, connect pre-service and in-service research-based teacher education, and
provide new teachers with support through induction periods (Niemi, 2015).
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Hong Kong
The fourth article, authored by Bick Har Lam (2015), is titled “Teacher
professional development in Hong Kong compared to Anglo sphere: The role of
Confucian philosophy”. This article presents a thorough review of Hong Kong’s
teacher PD policies and practices over the past four decades, comparing them with
the policies and practices currently adopted in Anglo-Saxon nations. Documentary
analysis is used as the main research methodology. Lam shows that, similar to other
countries, teacher PD in Hong Kong has gone thorough clearly distinctive phases,
ranging from an approach purely focused on upgrading teachers’ skills through
training courses to a more sophisticated approach that conceives PD as lifelong
learning. However, the author argues that the fact that Hong Kong is a Confucian
heritage culture has introduced important differences in the ways teachers engage in
PD. Based on a detailed discussion of these differences, Lan draws conclusions and
implications intended to help other countries in improving their PD policies and
practices.
Singapore
The title of the fifth contribution is “Teacher professional development in
Singapore: Depicting the landscape,” authored by Alfredo Bautista, Joanne Wong
and Saravanan Gopinathan. This article provides a general description of the PD
resources available to the teachers who work in the primary and secondary schools
run by Singapore’s Ministry of Education. There are multiple types of activities in
which these teachers can engage during their 100 hours of yearly PD entitlement,
ranging from formal/structured courses and programs to more informal/reform-type
initiatives (action research, lesson study). Most PD is subject-specific and provides
teachers with opportunities for network learning, collegial sharing, and collaboration.
The authors argue that Singapore’s comprehensive set of PD resources, considered as
a whole, presents the features of high-quality PD described in the literature.
However, they suggest that more research is needed to examine the extent to which
such ambitious PD model is enhancing teachers’ practices and students’ learning
(Bautista, Wong, & Gopinathan, 2015).
Spain
The closing piece of the monograph is authored by Elena Martín, and titled
“Pathways that converge in teacher professional development: Are they present in
Spain?” This article accomplishes two goals. First, it elaborates on the five articles
presented in the monograph, analyzing the common features of the teacher PD
perspectives and approaches considered today as being most effective. Martín argues
that the main axes of change revolve around teachers’ career-long development,
reflection in school-based communities of practice, and focus on students’ voices.
Moreover, she argues that teacher PD policies need to be coherent with more global
policies aimed at enhancing the quality of education. Second, using the identified
axes of teacher change as a framework, Martín discusses the situation of teacher PD
in Spain. This analysis depicts a rather heartbreaking landscape, with important
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limitations with regards to both the specific PD activities offered to teachers and the
underlying teacher PD model (Martín, 2015).
We invite the readers of Psychology, Society and Education to reflect about
how the ideas presented in the different pieces of this monograph could be used to
improve teacher PD theory, policy, and practice in their own countries.
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... Specifically, in the analysis carried out in this case, it is clearly identifiable that the type of studies chosen in this research topic is the qualitative methodological approach, which is very marked in an ethnographic perspective and centred on individual testimonies. This is discordant with the study by Bautista and Ortega-Ruíz (2015), which indicated that the predominance of studies on teachers' professional development corresponds to the evaluation of programmes. In the specific case of the research presented herein, it should be added that the focus was more on identifying factors and detecting needs. ...
... If we look at the contributions of teacher training studies to the field of smart schools, one of the initial aspects to highlight is that the content of the training actions in which the research carried out corresponds to the competences inherent to the requirements of a smart school. Although it is true that ICT occupies an important percentage as a necessary competence (Prieto et al. 2021), the main purpose of the smart school paradigm is to educate citizens who are characterised by active, self-directed learning, provide them with security, and require them to be socially committed and competent in the different cognitive, emotional, social, and technological dimensions (Bautista and Ortega-Ruíz 2015;Elli and Ricafort 2020). These types of changes necessarily influence teachers' professional development and were not globally reflected in the analysis carried out. ...
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This article focuses on current trends, tensions and unresolved issues related to teacher professional learning during a time of considerable change around the world. Rather than write an exhaustive literature review we identified four topics that have played a critical role in the field over the past decade. This article reviews literature on the following topics: (1) practice-based professional development; (2) online professional learning; (3) facilitation of professional development, and (4) PD focused on supporting diverse learners. Within each topic we highlight active areas of investigation and selected research findings, and conclude each section with questions yet to be answered.
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The aim of this article is twofold. First, we present an analysis of the main features of the teacher professional development (PD) models and programs currently considered of highest quality. This analysis is supported by the articles presented in the present monograph, and it also considers other studies that complement these perspectives. We show that axes of teacher change deal with career-long development, reflection in school-based communities of practice, and focus on students' voices. In addition, we highlight the need for coherence between teacher policies and more global policies aimed at enhancing the quality of education. The second objective is to assess the situation of teacher PD within the Spanish education system, using the identified axes of teacher change as an analytic framework. The comparison reveals important limitations from the points of view of both the specific PD activities offered to teachers and underlying teacher PD model.