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Unpublished Paper
Emerging trends in teacher professional development within a career continuum
Theses (2005)
  • Susanne Owen, University of South Australia
The expectations of schools are changing and significant problems are being experienced in attracting and retaining teachers in the profession. Teachers are expected to provide programs to enable a wider range of students to complete their schooling in preparation for work and further study, as well as supporting the social and emotional development of these young people. Accountability requirements for improved student learning outcomes in terms of literacy and numeracy are also increasing. While resourcing and class size are issues, teacher quality has been determined as the most significant aspect in student learning, with support for beginning teachers and ongoing professional development being essential to upgrade teacher skills and knowledge throughout their careers. Decentralisation of education through local school management means that profession development opportunities are being provided at the local level and are linked to school improvement. Given the importance of career-long professional development in ensuring teacher quality and accountability for limited educational expenditure, it is essential that professional development models support teacher learning and educational change. The effectiveness of traditional professional development approaches consisting of one-off workshops based on behaviourist learning notions of expert input or individual cognition models has been challenged regarding their impact on changing teaching practices. The transfer of knowledge from external courses to school sites has been questioned. Teachers have indicated little confidence in establishing new ideas at the local level unless there is time and support for follow up and connection to classroom practice. This research which was conducted locally, interstate and overseas supports previous studies regarding the importance of ongoing professional development being connected to school and individual needs and reflecting a situated theory of learning or situativity theory. Situativity theory is concerned with the situated nature of people and artefacts, focusing on the potential for deep learning occurring with a particular group of people who have shared beliefs and practices and who collaborate using relevant practical artefacts over an extended timeframe. This research indicates that in professional development, more intensive and practical activities among like groups of teachers are involved. Follow-up support from members for trialling of new ideas can occur, thereby resulting in transformational educational practices and benefits to student learning. Rethinking schedules, staffing patterns and grouping arrangements to create blocks of time for teachers to work and learn together occurs. This research is significant in linking professional development to a career continuum, with specific professional development approaches being highlighted as effective at particular stages. A systematic induction process including mentoring and portfolios for beginning teachers, with schools restructuring to support ongoing collegial learning within learning communities is emphasised. Leadership succession planning, coaching, study groups and online programs are also important, with these models all highlighting the relevance of situativity theory. [Author abstract]
  • Career development,
  • Group activities,
  • Inservice teacher education,
  • Practicums,
  • Student needs,
  • Teachers,
  • Teaching effectiveness,
  • Primary education,
  • Secondary education
Publication Date
Citation Information
Susanne Owen. "Emerging trends in teacher professional development within a career continuum" Theses (2005)
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