01 SES 10 C, The impact of professional development on teaching practices
In the last decade, similarly to other central and eastern European countries, Hungary used significant amounts of EU Structural Funds to launch development programs aimed at changing classroom level pedagogical practices in schools. The paper will present the outcomes of a research, conducted between 2012 and 2015, which aimed at better understanding the impact and the impact mechanisms of development interventions targeted at modernising school level teaching practices in Hungary. Our key research question has been: what conditions make the EU-funded development programs result in real and lasting changes in school-level and classroom-level teaching practices. The research has analysed the impact mechanisms at three levels: at the level of individual teachers, at the level of schools as organisations, and at national level. The paper will focus primarily on impact mechanisms at the level of individual teachers who have been involved in the implementation of development programs.
The theoretical background of our research has been based mainly on two types of literature: “implementation research” (e.g. McDonnel-Elmore, 1987; Thomas, 1994; Cerych - Sabatier, P.,1994; McLaughlin, 1990; Fullan–Pomfret, 1997; Gornitzka, 2005, Wurzburg, 2010), and “educational change research” (e.g. Levin, 2001; Fullan, 2003; Hopkins, 2006; Hargreaves et al., 2010). Implementation research deals mainly with the feasibility of large-scale education reforms, however its approach is also relevant to the analysis of specific development interventions. Although the macro-level or system-level perspective is also present, the micro-level or institutional/organizational-level (school-level) perspective is the dominant in the research on educational change. In both approaches it is essential to analyse organizational, management and policy processes, therefore they draw heavily on organization theories, management theories and theories of governance. The results of implementation research and research on educational change both can be applied to the analysis of particular education development interventions (e.g. Earl et al., 2003). We also analysed the relevant primary documents (development project plans, contracts, records) as well as the evaluations of interventions. Based on this work, two theoretical models have been established: one with a macro or top-down perspective, and another with a bottom-up or micro perspective. Our empirical data collection has been based on the second.
The data collected (see the next section on methodology) allows both school and teacher level analyses. The paper will analyse the impact of development interventions at the level of individual teachers, who have actively participated in a number of selected development interventions. The impact of the intervention on the individual teacher has been measured by the subjective perception of teachers who have answered a number of questions on their teaching practices and professional behaviour before and after the interventions. Our hypothesis is that the impact of development interventions on the individual teachers affected by them depends on both individual characteristics (e.g. professional commitment, openness to innovation, grades and subjects taught) and contextual factors related with the school where the teachers work (e.g. leadership style, organisational climate, knowledge management practices). The paper intends to reveal the differences in impact and impact mechanisms in different contexts. A related hypothesis is that the impact of development interventions on individual teachers is stronger in schools characterised by certain supportive factors, such as, for example, advanced knowledge management practices that lead to intensive knowledge sharing between teachers or active involvement in professional networks.
Cerych, L. – Sabatier, Paul (1994): Implementation of Reforms and Higher Education. In: Husén, T. – Postlethewait, T. Neville – Clark, R. Burton – Neave, G. R. (Eds.): The Complete Encyclopaedia of Education. Oxford: Elsevier Science. Earl, Lorna - Watson, Nancy - Levin, Ben - Leithwood, Ken – Fullan, Michael (2003): Final Report of the External Evaluation of England’s National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies. Final Report. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto Fullan, Michael – Pomfret, Alan (1997): Research on Curriculum and Instruction Implementation. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 335–397. Gornitzka,Ase - Kyvik, Svein - Stensaker, Bjorn (2005): implementation analysis in higher education. in. Gornitzka, Ase - Kogan Maurice - Amaral Alberto (eds): Reform and Change in Higher Education. Analysing Policy Implementation. Springer - CHER. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York. 35-56. Hargreaves, Andrew et al. (Eds.) (2010): Second International Handbook of Educational Change. Springer. Hopkins, David (2006): Minden iskola nagyszerű iskola – tanulás, tanítás és nagy léptékű reform. Új Pedagógiai Szemle. 2006/3. sz. 46-52.o. Levin, Benjamin (2001): Conceptualizing the Process of Education Reform From An International Perspective. Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol. 9. No. 14. McDonnel M. – Elmore, R. F. (1987): Getting the Job Done – Alternative Policy Instruments. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Vol. 9., No. 2., Summer, 133–152. p. McLaughlin, Milbrey W. (1990): The Rand Change Agent Study Revisited: Macro Perspectives and Micro Realities. Educational Researcher. 19:11 pp. 11–16. Michael Fullan (2003): Change Forces: With a Vengeance. Routlegde Thomas, Robert Murray (1994): Implementation of Educational Reforms. In: Postlethewaite et al.: The Complete Encyclopaedia of Education. Oxford: Elsevier Science Wurzburg, Gregory (2010): Making reform happen in education. in: Making reform happen in education. OECD. Paris. pp. 159-181.
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