01 SES 02 A, Professional Development Programmes
This contribution deals with a crucial question: which factors influence the sustainability and scale-up of teacher professional development (PD) programmes' impact?
The question of how to promote teachers’ PD is of great interest and has been discussed in various papers (e.g. Krainer and Zehetmeier 2013; Loucks-Horsley et al. 1996; Maldonado 2002; Sowder 2007; Zehetmeier 2010, 2014; Zehetmeier and Krainer 2011). In this context, the question of impact is of particular relevance. Evaluations and impact analyses of PD programmes are mostly conducted during or at the end of a project and exclusively provide results regarding short-term effects. These findings are highly relevant for critical reflection of the terminated project and necessary for the conception of similar projects in the future (Fullan 2006). However, apart from and beyond that, an analysis of sustainable effects is crucial (Loucks-Horsley et al. 1996). Despite its central importance for both teachers and teacher educators, research on sustainable impact is generally lacking within teacher education disciplines (Rogers 2003). This kind of sustainability analysis is often missing because of a lack of material, financial and personal resources (Hargreaves 2002). This contribution addresses the factors which influence the sustainability and scale-up of professional development programmes' impact.
In this contribution, theoretical models and empirical findings from impact research (e.g. Zehetmeier and Krainer 2011) and innovation research (e.g. Cobb and Smith 2008; Rogers 2003) are combined, with the aim to use them as a theoretical framework for the analysis of data. In particular, this framework is used to discuss the questions concerning sustaining and scaling up the impact of teacher PD programmes.
This contribution uses a comprehensive theoretical model covering the issue of impact of professional development programmes: the IPD (Impact of Professional Development) model (Zehetmeier 2008; Zehetmeier and Krainer 2011), which combines and integrates theories and results of previous research activities on this topic. It was developed based on a literature review (Zehetmeier 2008) and offers a structured overview regarding existing knowledge and concepts of the topic. Within this model, core elements constituting PD activities (participating teachers, participating facilitators, the programme itself, and the context) and central levels of possible impact (knowledge, beliefs and practice) are juxtaposed; the impact of PD programmes can be regarded as changes or innovations within the respective levels, which are influenced by fostering factors.
Empirical evidence concerning the question of scaling up the impact of PD programmes points to the finding that “prior large-scale improvement efforts ... have rarely produced lasting changes in either teachers’ instructional practices or the organization of schools” (Cobb and Smith 2008, p. 232). Thus, it seems reasonable to focus on factors which might foster the broad effects and scale-up of PD programmes’ impact. Cobb and Smith (2008) highlight networks, shared vision and mutual accountability as key factors for the scale-up of changes and impact in teacher education.
Rogers (2003) highlights that the diffusion and scale-up of innovations and impact depend on several characteristics: relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability. Fullan (2001) describes similar characteristics (need, clarity, complexity, quality and practicality) that influence the acceptance and impact of innovations.
Cobb, P., & Smith, T. (2008). The challenge of scale: designing schools and districts as learning organizations for instructional improvement in mathematics. In K. Krainer & T. Wood (Eds.), International handbook of mathematics teacher education (Vol. 3, pp. 231–254). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Fullan, M. (2001). The new meaning of educational change (3rd edition). New York: Teachers College Press. Fullan, M. (2006). The future of educational change: system thinkers in action. Journal of Educational Change, 7, 113–122. Hancock, D., & Algozzine, B. (2006). Doing case study research. New York: Teachers College Press. Hargreaves, A. (2002). Sustainability of educational change: the role of social geographies. Journal of Educational Change, 3, 189–214. Krainer, K., & Zehetmeier, S. (2013). Inquiry-based learning for pupils, teachers, researchers, and representatives of educational administration and policy: reflections on a nation-wide initiative fostering educational innovations. ZDM Mathematics Education, 45(6), 875–886. Loucks-Horsley, S., Stiles, K., & Hewson, P. (1996). Principles of effective professional development for mathematics and science education: a synthesis of standards. NISE Brief, 1(1), 1–6. Maldonado, L. (2002). Effective professional development. Findings from research. Retrieved 18.1.2014 from www.collegeboard.com. Mayring, P. (2003). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse [Qualitative content analysis]. Weinheim, Germany: Beltz. Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. New York: Free Press. Sowder, J. (2007). The mathematical education and development of teachers. In F. Lester (Ed.), Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 157–223). Greenwich, CT: NCTM. Stake, R. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Yin, R. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Zehetmeier, S. (2008). Zur Nachhaltigkeit von Lehrer/innenfortbildung [The sustainability of teacher professional development]. Doctoral thesis. Klagenfurt, Austria: University of Klagenfurt. Zehetmeier, S. (2010). The sustainability of professional development. In V. Durand-Guerrier, S. Soury-Lavergne, & F. Arzarello (Eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (pp. 1951–1960). Lyon: Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique (INRP). Zehetmeier, S. (2014). The others’ voice: availing other disciplines’ knowledge about sustainable impact of professional development programmes. TME – The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, 11(1). Zehetmeier, S., & Krainer, K. (2011). Ways of promoting the sustainability of mathematics teachers’ professional development. ZDM Mathematics Education, 43(6/7), 875–887.
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