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These practices are also found in European nations. Teachers in Finnish schools, for example, meet one afternoon each week to jointly plan and develop curriculum, and schools in the same municipality are encouraged to work together to share materials. By contrast, U.

Inside the Academy: Marilyn Cochran-Smith

Teachers in the U. When time for professional development is built into teachers' working time, their learning activities can be ongoing and sustained, and can focus on particular issues and problems over time. Job-embedded professional learning time also supports the kind of context-specific professional learning and action research that has been found to be more effective in catalyzing change in teaching practice than the generic workshops that are common in the U.

Active research on a topic related to education is fairly common in Western European schools where professional development time is built into the teachers' work time. Similarly, England, Hungary, and Ontario Canada have created opportunities for teachers to engage in school-focused research and development. Teachers are provided time and support for studying and evaluating their own teaching strategies and school programs and in sharing their findings with their colleagues, and through conferences and publications OECD, A group of teachers observe while the lesson is taught and usually record the lesson in a number of ways, including videotape, audiotape, and narrative or checklist observations that focus on areas of interest to the instructing teacher for example, how many students volunteered their own ideas.

Afterward, the group of teachers and sometimes outside educators discuss the lesson's strengths and limitations, ask questions, and make suggestions for improvement. Sometimes, the revised lesson is given by another teacher a few days later and observed.


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In a typical lesson study cycle, about 10 to 15 hours of group meetings are spread over 3 to 4 weeks. Many high-achieving nations also organize extensive professional development that draws on expertise beyond the school. After their fourth year of teaching, South Korean teachers are required to take 90 hours of professional development courses every three years.

Among Singapore's many investments in teacher professional learning is the Teacher's Network, established in by the Singapore Ministry of Education as part of the Prime Minister's new vision, "Thinking Schools, Learning Nation. The Teacher's Network includes learning circles, teacher-led workshops, conferences, and a well-being program, as well as a website and publications series for sharing knowledge Tripp, ; Salleh, As part of this initiative, the government pays for hours of professional development each year for all teachers in addition to the 20 hours a week they have to work with other teachers and visit each others' classrooms to study teaching.

In addition, teachers are being trained to undertake action research projects in the classroom so that they can examine teaching and learning problems, and find solutions that can be disseminated to others. With government funding, teachers can take courses at the National Institute of Education toward a master's degree aimed at any of three career ladders that help them become curriculum specialists, mentors for other teachers, or school principals.

These opportunities build their own expertise and that of the profession as a whole, as their work in these roles supports other teachers. A few countries have established national training programs.

For example, as part of the National Literacy and National Numeracy Strategies, England instituted a national training program in best-practice training techniques accompanied by resources to support implementation of the national curriculum frameworks. These include packets of high quality teaching materials, resource documents, and videos depicting good practice.

In This Issue

In , England began a new component of the Strategies designed to allow schools and local education agencies to learn best practices from each other by funding and supporting 1, groups of six schools each Fullan, Since , the Australian government has been sponsoring the Quality Teacher Programme, a large scale program that provides funding to update and improve teachers' skills and understandings in priority areas and enhance the status of teaching in both government and non-government schools.

Teaching Australia facilitates the development and implementation of nationally agreed upon teaching standards, conducts research and communicates research findings, and facilitates and coordinates professional development courses. The National Projects include programs designed to identify and promote best practice, support the development and dissemination of professional learning resources in priority areas, and develop professional networks for teachers and school leaders. Many countries offer professional development programs specifically for new teachers. Most of these include release time for new teachers and, often, mentor teachers to participate in the induction activities, as well as training for mentor teachers.

Most of the release time is used to give the new teachers time to attend professional development activities or extra time to perform teacher duties like writing lesson plans. Some time is also used to support mentor teachers in observing and meeting with beginners.

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Induction programs support new teachers' observations of other teachers both in their own school and at other schools , class visits followed by informal discussion or written reports, working in a classroom with a mentor teacher, attending meetings for beginning teachers, and attending courses Clement, Norwegian principals assign an experienced, highly qualified mentor to each new teacher and the teacher education institution then trains the mentor and takes part in in-school guidance OECD, One of the policy conditions associated with increased teacher collaboration in many high-achieving nations is the decentralization of educational policy.

In Western Europe, nations such as Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland have decentralized much of their educational decision-making to local agencies, schools, and teachers. Highly detailed curriculum documents and external tests were replaced in the s and s by much broader goal statements that were designed to guide teachers' development of curriculum and instruction.

Teachers in these and many other nations are responsible for designing key assessments to evaluate student learning as part of an assessment system that includes school-based assessments.

Curriculum Inquiry and Related Scholarship | University of Central Florida

These deliberations are themselves a form of professional development, as teachers study issues and share their ideas. For more details on professional development in Finland, see articles in this issue. Similarly, in Sweden, the decentralization of the curriculum and in-service training led to a shift in the focus of the development work at each school from prescribed teaching methods to problems in teachers' own classrooms.

Teachers now work in teams which meet during regular working hours to discuss and make decisions on common matters in their work, including the planning of lessons, the welfare of pupils, curriculum development, and evaluation Alhstrand, Building time into teachers' work schedules provides them with regular and ongoing opportunities to engage in collaborative inquiry aimed at improving teaching and learning in their unique contexts.

Humanistic Research in Self-Study: A History of Transformation*

Policies that provide schools and teachers with the power to make decisions around local curriculum and assessment practices, and to select the content of professional development based on local priorities, are also associated with higher levels of teacher engagement in collaborative work and learning activities. In these high achieving nations, teachers' professional learning is a high priority and teachers are treated as professionals.

Many of the countries that have established strong infrastructures for high-quality teaching have built them over the last two decades. This suggests that such conditions could be developed in the United States as well, with purposeful effort and clarity about what matters and what works to support professional learning and practice.

Ahlstrand, E. Professional isolation and imposed collaboration in teachers' work. In Carlgren, I. London: The Falmer Press. Altelier Learning Solutions Commonwealth of Australia. Barber, M. London: McKinsey and Company. Birman, B. Washington, D. Blank, R. Analysis of the quality of professional development programs for mathematics and science teachers: Findings from a cross-state study. Britton, T. Mentoring in the induction system of five countries: A sum is greater than its parts. Cullingford Ed.

Mentoring in education: An international perspective. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing. Britton, E. Clement, M. Making time for teacher induction: A lesson from the New Zealand model. Earl, L, Watson, N.


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