14 SES 12 B, Schooling in Rural/Urban Settings
Continuous professional development (CPD) is the cornerstone of the professionalization of teaching and the attainment of high quality in terms of teachers and school leader’s professionalism. Indeed, ongoing teacher professional learning, or CPD, is also essential to continuously building professional knowledge and skills at the individual level. In many jurisdictions globally there are mandatory annual requirements to achieve recency of practice and to meet licensing and accreditation requirements (Henderson & Noble, 2015; Loughran, 2007, 2010; Thomas & Beauchamp, 2007) through attendance at CPD activities. While traditionally, one-size fits all, transmission models of program delivery have dominated, there is a growing recognition that active involvement in the design, development and review of CPD that is connected to context is most effective in positively influencing educational processes and outcomes (Hargreaves, 2000; Henderson & Noble, 2015).
For teachers and school leaders in urban contexts, including metropolitan and regional localities, there is usually a plethora of formal CPD opportunities available to them and indeed, due to demography, opportunities to engage with informal opportunities within their context are also many and varied. In such localities, teachers can be spoiled for choice. However, for those teachers and school leaders in rural and remote contexts it is a very different story. For these professionals access to high quality formal and informal CPD or professional learning is often significantly constrained due to demographic and geographic isolation, access and affordability issues. Therefore understanding how teachers and school leaders in rural and remote localities experience formal and informal professional learning is essential in building sustainable ways of working across diverse contexts.
Through engagement in a funded research partnership with a key employer of teachers in Australia, a strong focus on building professional engagement in CPD across the geographically largest diocese in Australia, situated in the south west of Queensland continues to drive our investigations and action. As part of this broader project, site visits were conducted and professional learning in context explored. Data from one such remote school is presented here to illustrate how a whole-school, strengths-based approach to formal and informal professional learning has emerged and evolved. Data was gathered via various means, including photo elicitations, video recordings, focus group discussions, individual interviews, online reflections, observations and field notes. Importantly, the research foci and questions guiding the analysis of these various sources of data included the impact of a localised whole-school approach to building inclusive, continuous, multilayered professional learning and development for all staff on student learning outcomes. Understanding the individual experiences of each of the teachers and school leaders and by drawing on the conceptual lens of human geography and notions of spatial imaginaries (Gruenewald, 2003) this paper presents a model of workforce capacity building for the teaching profession and at the same time highlights the importance of context in developing ways of being, knowing and doing teacher and teaching (Gee, 1996). The model promotes career optimism and building professional efficacy through collaborative endeavour.
Davies, R., and Dart, J. (2005). The Most Significant Change (MSC) Technique: A guide to its use. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Trumpington. Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses (2nd ed.). London: Falmer Press. Gruenewald, D. (2003). Foundations of place: A multidisciplinary framework for place-conscious education. American Educational Research Journal, 40(3), 619-654. Henderson, R., & Noble, K. (2015). Professional Learning, Induction and Critical Reflection: Building Workforce Capacity in Education. London: Palgrave MacMillan. Loughran, J. (2007). Enacting a pedagogy of teacher education. In T. Russell & J. Loughran (Eds.), Enacting a pedagogy of teacher education: Values, relationships and practice (pp. 1-15). London: Routledge. Loughran, J. (2010). Seeking knowledge for teaching teaching: Moving beyond stories. Studying Teacher Education, 6(3), 221-226. Noble, K., & Henderson, R. (2012). What is capacity building and why does it matter?: Developing a model of workforce capacity building through the case of Education Commons. In P. A. Danaher, L. De George-Walker, R. Henderson, K. J. Matthews, W. Midgley, K. Noble, M. A. Tyler & C. Arden (Eds.), Constructing capacities: Building capacity through learning and engagement (pp. 51-67). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Thomas, L., & Beauchamp, C. (2007). Learning to live well as teachers in a changing world: Insights into developing a professional identity in teacher education. Journal of Educational Thought, 41(3), 229-243.
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