10 SES 13 B, Advancing Professionalism in Teaching: Professional standards and teacher quality
Around the world professional standards for teaching have been introduced as a means to regulate the teaching profession and codify the work of teachers. This symposium reports on the first phase of a multi-country study on teacher professional standards which is being conducted in Russia, Scotland and Portugal – three countries where the current use of teacher professional standards is at different stages of development (adoption, consolidation and rejection).
The introduction of professional standards for teachers however is not without controversy and their purpose contested. There has been much debate about the ways in which professional standards are used to advance teaching quality and professionalism through means of development or compliance (Sachs, 2003; Smith 2005; Day 2004). Existing literature also points to the uncritical use of professional teaching standards. Sachs (2003) identifies three main ideas: i) standards as commonsense – as a basis for providing a benchmarking of minimum levels of achievement; ii) standards as quality assurance – as a degree or assessment of quality; iii) standards as quality improvement – within the context of teachers’ professional development and learning.
The three education systems involved in the first stage of this multi-country study offer contrasting perspectives for the development of teacher standards as they are at different stages in the use of professional standards: a nascent model in Russia; a consolidated model in Scotland where there now exists a professional continuum made up of a suite of five professional standards and a more fragile model in Portugal, where professional standards which were introduced in 2010, were essentially rejected and abandoned after only two years by the new government, elected in 2011.
The focus of the symposium articulates closely with the conference theme as the introduction of professional standards for teaching is often part of a programme of policy change and education reform but, as each of the papers in the symposium will suggest, the degree to which such standards can leverage change and improve teaching quality is also influenced by the extent to which the teaching profession is involved their design and adoption. Through the research presented the symposium will explore the 'ambivalence' between this tenet of education policy and the ways in which education research can influence this.
Forde, C., McMahon, M. A., Hamilton, G., and Murray, R. (2016) ‘Rethinking professional standards to promote professional learning’ Professional Development in Education, 42(1), pp. 19-35 Flores, M. A., & Van Nuland, S. (2013) ‘Teachers’ understanding of standards’ 57th World assembly of the International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET), Sukhotai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), Nonthaburi, Tailândia, pp.86, 25-28 June 2013 Kalimullin, A., Vlasova, K., and Sakhieva , R., (2015) ‘Teachers' Training in the Magistrate: Structural, Content and Organizational Modernization in the Context of a Federal University,’ International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, Vol 11 No3 p207-215 Piskunova, E., Sokolova, I., and Kalimullin, A., (2016) ‘The Problem of Correspondence of Educational and Professional Standards (Results of Empirical Research)’, International Journal of Environmental & Science Education May 2016, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p1003-1010 Sachs, Judith (2015). ‘Teacher Professionalism: why are we still talking about it?’ Teachers and Teaching Theory and Practice, 22(4), pp. 413-425 OECD (2015) Improving Schools in Scotland Available online at http://www.oecd.org/education/school/Improving-Schools-in-Scotland-An-OECD-Perspective.pdf (accessed 30/5/16) Watson, C., and Fox, A., (2015) ‘Professional re-accreditation: constructing educational policy for career-long teacher professional learning’ Journal of Education Policy Vol. 30, Iss. 1, 2015
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