Teaching is a complex and demanding profession. Teachers require high quality support and training throughout their careers to ensure they have the strategies and skills to meet the needs of learners. Professional learning and development (PLD) is central to maintaining and improving teacher quality.
Page 1, Overview, ERO report.
I’ve just downloaded and begun to read my way through the two ERO reports on Managing Professional Learning and Development (available online from ERO site) after hearing Graham Stoop speaking on National Radio yesterday morning and reading the article in this morning’s Press.
The reports have been described as a “wake-up call for schools” by Graham Stoop, Chief Review Officer for schools, with each report containing details of how well schools plan for PLD; how well they build a culture in which teachers learn and develop; and how well schools monitor the effectiveness of teachers’ learning and development.
In carrying out their review, ERO used a consistent set of indicators based largely on the Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, and schools grouped into three categories of effectiveness:
|Category||% of Primary in this category||% of Secondary in this category|
|Effective – managing PLD well||38%||27%|
|Moderate – Aspects of PLD managed effectively but at least one significant area of their performance needing strengthening||40%||30%|
|Least effective management of PLD||22%||43%|
For me there are no real surprises here. As someone who has worked extensively in schools over the past 20 years in professional learning and development I have come to understand that what works best (as illustrated in the BES studies) in the engagement of teachers in in-depth, sustained participation in PLD activities that are linked to the strategic goals of the school, and are anchored in the culture, vision and values of the school and its community. Sadly there are still too many instances of short term, one-off PLD events, and too many programmes that are based on formulaic, ‘out-of-the-box’ designs that fail to reflect the needs of either the teachers or the schools involved. Further, lack of time, resources and the general malaise of ‘too much to try and cover’ are all too often used as excuses to doing anything at all.
I am pleased to read that these reports conclude that there is a link between quality professional development and imporovement in student outcomes, and that they promote and support the notion of self-review as a critical element in determining the effectiveness of school and teacher practice in PLD.
The timing of these reports couldn’t be better in my opinion, as schools confront the task of implementing the NZ Curriculum amid a multitude of other challenges, and when the government’s budget for PLD has been cut by more than $30M.
I hope these reports and the responses that will inevitably follow will stimulate a critical review of what is happening in schools by principals and school leaders, and the adoption of a more strategic approach to PLD activity that will be both cost effective and effective in terms of long term, sustainable growth and development.
Download Secondary Report (PDF – 344Kb)
Download Primary Report (PDF – 346Kb)
(PS – has anyone else noticed the faux pas in the foreword of each of the reports? 🙂