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Embedding Sustainability in Teacher Education in Australia  

Lisa D. Ryan and Jo-Anne L. Ferreira

The role of education in addressing environmental and sustainability concerns has been recognized since the 1960s, with contemporary education for sustainable development (ESD) approaches seeking to prepare students to be active citizens with the knowledge, skills, and capacities to successfully address sustainability challenges. Given the focus on education as a key strategy, there have also been numerous international initiatives seeking to reorient teacher education for sustainability (TEfS), including providing curriculum resources for teacher educators, upskilling teacher educators, building communities of practice, and developing ESD competency frameworks. Despite these efforts, few teacher education institutions embed such work, resulting in limited skills and capabilities among teacher educators to teach active citizenship for sustainability. Barriers to effective TEfS include compartmentalization of disciplines and the prioritization of other curriculum areas such as numeracy and literacy, and this has compounded the problem. A case study of a decade-long project, Embedding Teacher Education for Sustainability in Australia, demonstrates how systems approaches to change that build common visions, identifying and working with all stakeholders within a system, can lead to positive TEfS outcomes. There are key lessons to be learned from this project, which might inform a future model for embedding sustainability in teacher education in other countries. Using a systems approach to change that recognizes key drivers of teacher education, such as governmental policy and teacher accreditation, and that advocates for the inclusion of ESD into teacher standards should be a key priority action if ESD is to be successfully embedded within teacher education.

Article

Teacher Education in Poland  

Joanna Madalinska-Michalak

Teacher education in Poland is viewed as a lifelong journey, encompassing preservice training, induction, and ongoing professional development. The primary emphasis is on empowering teachers as perpetual learners and tailoring their education to meet individual needs, as well as the needs of educational institutions and students. In Poland, teacher education is deeply integrated with higher education and has been shaped by substantial reforms. The current landscape of teacher education in Poland is a result of significant reforms initiated by the state, aligning with the Bologna process. The Bologna process aims to harmonize higher education systems across Europe by establishing the European Higher Education Area. This facilitates student and staff mobility, enhances inclusivity and accessibility, and boosts the competitiveness of European higher education globally. The changes in teacher education in Poland have also emphasized quality assurance, qualifications frameworks, recognition processes, and more. The overarching objective is to elevate the quality of teaching and learning. Comparative analysis of Poland’s teacher education system and international findings suggests several policy initiatives that should be implemented. These initiatives can be broadly categorized into two sets: strategies aimed at improving the status and competitiveness of the teaching profession, and targeted approaches for attracting and retaining specific types of teachers, particularly in specific schools. To enhance teacher education in Poland, recommendations include limiting the number of teacher education candidates based on demand, increasing funding, and implementing more selective admission processes within higher education institutions. Moreover, strengthening support for teacher mentors and improving the socioprofessional position of teachers is seen as essential. Attracting and recruiting the best teachers in Poland is a critical challenge, particularly in the face of emerging trends and teacher shortages. To address this issue effectively, it is essential to improve the image of the teaching profession, enhance working conditions, and provide incentives for aspiring educators. Additionally, more flexible teacher education programs that accommodate a diverse range of candidates and prepare teachers for the changing educational landscape are necessary to ensure a continuous supply of high-quality teachers.

Article

Matching Performance Assessment to Teacher Capabilities: The Bridge Between Teacher Performance/Evaluation and Student Learning  

Robert Morris

America’s public educational system is under constant scrutiny concerning student performance on standardized tests. Some blame the teachers, others blame the students, and recently many have begun to blame the test. A clearer picture of the issues is important and by reviewing the traditional aspects for evaluating teachers and then analyzing how contemporary testing methods in today’s classrooms has evolved a clearer perspective can be accomplished. The advent of newer models and methods of teacher assessment that focus on the classroom performance of teachers and based on observable assessments, along with a more authentic measure of student capabilities, are central. Although many researchers praise this movement, others have found many pitfalls in the attempt to standardize performance assessments. Many critics advocate the use of performance assessments in the classroom but remain loyal to the multiple-choice assessment as the more reliable and valid measure for comparative standardized testing. All aspects of this debate are important however. Given the increasing usage of performance assessment in today’s classrooms, many believe and advocate the development of newer assessments to replace the more traditional assessments. Understanding the roles evaluation and assessment play in reforming teacher evaluation is vital. Different data sources, new social power relations, and new ways of thinking about teacher evaluation are all important. The link between these developments in teacher evaluation and school reform is hoped to bring about an increased focus on the most important resource for change: the best practices of current teachers.

Article

Examining Challenges and Possibilities in the Objective of a Decolonized Education  

Marlon Lee Moncrieffe

This article examines challenges and possibilities in the objective of a decolonized education. Beginning with key referents to the term decolonized education, this article then provides a unique presentation of decolonizing the education of Eurocentric knowledge created through colonialism, empire, and racism. This process is shown as enacted through a decolonial consciousness framed by a historical, social, cultural, intellectual, emotional, and political disposition which takes action to reverse colonial knowledge. The article applies this decolonial consciousness in a review and analysis of the intergenerational educational experiences of migrant 20th-century African Caribbean people across the United Kingdom, and the ethnogenesis of their Black British children in the face of a White British-centric school system of epistemic inequality. The article provides a critical review on the challenges and possibilities in advocating for decolonized education for the greater inclusion of Black British experiences against national curriculum policy discourses given by U.K. government over the last few decades. The critical focal point of the article is on the aims and contents of the primary school history curriculum and the uncritical teaching and learning perspectives in the delivery of this curriculum. Challenges to decolonizing education and curriculum teaching and learning are presented, discussed, and analyzed through U.K. conservative/liberal democrat coalition government curriculum reforms of 2013 centered on restoring education and curriculum teaching and learning through an ethnic nationalist monocultural version of British national identity (whiteness) at the expense of multiculturalism (cultural diversity). This curriculum hierarchy of whiteness is contrasted by presentation and analysis of evidence-based research that decenters curriculum whiteness. Following this discussion is a review and analysis of debates and discussions in the U.K. Parliament held in 2020, forced by heightened public appeals for a decolonized curriculum. Finally, this article concludes by reviewing examples of continued professional development in teacher education and research that seeks to advance and extend decolonial praxis.

Article

Leadership That Bridges Arts and Social-Emotional Learning  

Marco A. Nava, Imelda L. Nava, and Jan Kirsch

Over the last 40 years, due to the combination of cuts to school and district budgets and an overemphasis on standardized testing, arts instruction has been severely cut back in public schools. Minority and low-income students are the ones most negatively impacted, as the schools they attend generally have lower standardized test scores. A study, Arts and Social-Emotional Learning (ASEL), provided training for 44 elementary school administrators serving high-needs students. Through a theoretical framework of social-emotional and brain-based learning, participating administrators received 40 hours of professional development that supported them in creating safe classroom learning environments to foster creativity, innovation, and collaboration. The research may provide insights to assist school and district leaders to provide all students with equitable access to the arts and social-emotional learning.

Article

Teacher Education in India  

Sunil Behari Mohanty

In the last part of the 19th century, the consecutive model of teacher education followed in England was introduced in India by the English rulers. In the 1960s, the concurrent model-integrated teacher education program found in the United States was started by a private college at Kurukshetra, Haryana State. After 2 years, admission to this course was closed. In 1963, the National Council of Educational Research and Training launched pre-service teacher training program through this integrated B.A./B.Sc. and B.Ed. course meant for school leavers along with a 1-year B.Ed. for graduates in its four Regional Colleges of Education. The concurrent model for secondary school teacher training could not even draw the attention of the governments of the states in which these colleges are located. In spite of the efforts of the central government to bring uniformity, after-school education came under the concurrent list of the constitution of India, could not be successful. The complexity found in the school system is also reflected in the teacher education system. Central government schemes to improve quality of a certain number of state government teacher training colleges could not succeed. Transferring the task of controlling curricula for secondary school teacher training from state governments to universities also did not succeed, as some universities utilized B.Ed. courses for untrained teachers as a source of revenue generation. The Indian central government tried to regulate teacher education by having a statutory body-National Council for Teacher Education. This body increased the duration of the B.Ed. course through correspondence to 2 years, while face to face mode B.Ed. course continued to be of 1 year duration. In 2014, this body replaced 1 year B.Ed. course by 2 year B.Ed. course without increasing appropriate duration of B.Ed. correspondence (distance mode) course. The new education policy of 2020 has suggested implementing a 1-year B.Ed. course for postgraduates to be delivered by multidisciplinary institutions. The policy has made the future teacher education scenario more complicated by hoping that by 2030 all teacher training shall be provided through integrated teacher training programs.

Article

Transformational School Leadership to Dismantle Inequitable Systems  

Deirdra Preis

A key reason for the failure of U.S. school leaders to challenge systems of inequity is the lack of exposure to the theory and skill development needed to manage the resistance and political challenges that inevitably occur when interrogating unjust traditions of practice. As preparation programs aim to improve their candidates’ future success in addressing inequitable educational access, it is critical that they develop in their students the self-efficacy around relational practices and strategies needed to manage the micropolitics of transformative work. Examining how transformative K–12 school leaders effectively challenge structural inequities and manage to sustain their leadership positions during turbulent times can help to inform such curricular and instructional revisions. Some of the key practices identified by successful transformative K–12 leaders include engaging in reflection around their positionality, developing racial literacy, effectively facilitating shared visions and collective responsibility for social justice advocacy, building the capacity of stakeholders, developing critical alliances through transparent and authentic community involvement, and participating in supportive professional peer networks that offer ongoing reflection, study, and support. By providing such content and skill practice, and ensuring that instruction and mentoring are provided by faculty who are experienced in transformative leadership, leader candidates can be better prepared for the realities of this challenging work, increasing the likelihood that they will act transformatively upon assuming school leadership roles.

Article

Career Change Teachers: Caveat and Opportunities in Workforce Planning for Schools  

Babak Dadvand, Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach, Jan van Driel, and Chris Speldewinde

Teacher shortage has emerged as a significant policy concern in post-pandemic times, prompting governments to attract more individuals into the teaching profession, including those with career experiences outside schools and the education sector. The term “career change teachers” refers to those who enter teaching often later in life after spending some time in other professions. Career change teachers have qualities that make them particularly attractive candidates for teaching, including a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to care, up-to-date content knowledge, practical skills that can make learning more engaging and meaningful for students, and a broad set of organizational skills from their previous career or careers. Various incentives from governments throughout the world and a growing number of alternative pathways into teaching that combine intensive studies with teaching duties have offered more flexibility for individuals to undertake their Initial Teacher Education (ITE) mid-career. However, front-focused policy solutions that prioritize teacher recruitment over teacher retention tend not to address the revolving door of admission and attrition. Loss of investment occurs when new teachers, including career changers, leave the profession prematurely because they are not adequately supported during their transition into study and teaching. A retention-focused workforce planning strategy is needed, one that addresses the structural and education system-level contributors to high teacher turnover. Such a strategy will have implications for the types of support provided to career change teachers in their transition into ITE and teaching.

Article

Simulations in Teacher Education  

Stefan Schutt, Rebecca Miles-Keogh, and Dale Linegar

For decades, simulations have helped educators build students’ skills and workplace readiness in professions such as health care and medicine. Historically, teacher education has been slower in its take-up of simulations, but the value of practice for pre-service teachers (PSTs) has become more widely recognized as digital technologies have become ubiquitous. Simulations, however, are not only digital. Although their long history incorporates technology-based platforms such as virtual worlds, “serious games” and online scenarios, they also include resource-intensive face-to-face activities such as role plays involving teachers, student peers or paid actors. In teacher education a range of pedagogies support the use of simulations by recognizing the complexities of classroom practice and emphasize targeting specific aspects for skill development and supporting opportunities for deconstruction, reflection and feedback. An overview of these developments provides social practice theories as a theoretical framework for exploring the potential of simulations to help PSTs practice targeted skills in risk-free environments, followed by a potted history of simulations in education, identifying limitations, and concluding with thoughts about future directions. Examples of contemporary simulations are used throughout to illustrate specific points.

Article

Numeracy Across the Curriculum  

Merrilyn Goos and Kathy O'Sullivan

Numeracy is related to, but different from, mathematics. While mathematical development proceeds through increasing abstraction, numerate practice is instead firmly grounded in making sense of real-life contexts. Education systems around the world acknowledge the importance of numeracy as an essential goal of schooling, since poor numeracy skills are known to diminish an individual’s life chances and limit national prosperity and social development. Different manifestations of numeracy can be located along a continuum that distinguishes between numeracy as a technical skill needed for performing everyday tasks and numeracy as a social practice that underpins critical citizenship. In the school curriculum, there are also different ways of addressing students’ numeracy development; however, there is growing consensus that numeracy should be taught as an essential element of all subjects, that is, as “numeracy across the curriculum.” This process should not trivialize numeracy by representing it as basic arithmetic or simple calculation skills; instead, the numeracy capabilities that are genuinely needed for learning a curricular subject need to be rigorously identified and nurtured in students. Two strategies are usually recognized for achieving this goal: integrating mathematics with other areas of the curriculum or, alternatively, identifying the intrinsic numeracy demands and opportunities in disciplines other than mathematics. The former strategy is less feasible when both the curriculum and teacher preparation are organized around subject specialisms, thus inhibiting interdisciplinary collaboration between teachers. The latter strategy responds to curriculum designs that recognize numeracy as a cross-cutting competency to be developed in all subjects. For numeracy across the curriculum to become a reality in schools, teachers need to be provided with numeracy frameworks and models that align with the official curriculum, together with practical guidance for classroom implementation across year levels and subjects. This does not mean that all teachers need to become mathematics specialists; it does mean that teachers should be supported to see how a focus on numeracy can enhance the achievement of curriculum goals in the subjects they teach.