01 SES 14 B, Current Developments and Trends in Teachers’ Professional Development, Policies and Practices in England, Sweden and the Netherlands
In the last decade or so, the professional development of teachers has become a central policy concern in many countries, including England, Sweden and the Netherlands. This theme of teacher professional development needs reflects wider international policy trends (Gerwitz, Mahony, Hextall & Cribb, 2009). Today, needs of development of a ‘new’ teacher professionalism is addressed within the European Union (Alexiadou, 2014) and the OECD-countries (OECD, 2018). However, what it means to be professional in teaching has long been widely debated and explored. Briefly, theories about teacher professionalism may differ based upon the theoretical and practical orientations of researchers (Sarfatti Larson, 1976/2012).
The overall aim of this symposium is to analyze current trends and strivings on the theme of teacher professionalism in the respective national contexts of England, Sweden and the Netherlands. This aim includes a critical analysis of current policies, practices and programmes for professional development in relation to an emphasis on evidence-based approaches to teaching, as well as an analysis of trends in the “academisation” of teachers. The aim also includes connecting policies and programmes on professional development to conditions in practice for teachers and school leaders, and the structure and governance of school systems.
For the purposes of the symposium, the papers are framed within two major perspectives on teachers’ professional development: i) a top down approach, i.e. a policy driven evidence based approach, and ii) a bottom up approach, i.e. professional development conducted among teachers throughout their careers (Hargreaves & Goodson, 1996/2003). The papers draw on documents and empirical data. Professional development policies and practices are analyzed and discussed in relation to the two major perspectives on professional development, and how differing policies and practices might contribute to sustainable school systems.
In England, the tendency has been to promote practice that is underpinned by research evidence. This has tended to create top-down approaches to how research might be used to inform practice; e.g. “close to practice research” (Wyse, Brown, Oliver & Poblete, 2018). In Sweden, tendency has been to emphasize the development of teachers’ professionalism, including policies for evidence-based education underpinned by the new Education Act, along with new career reforms and a new certification system (Erixon Arreman, Hansson & Bergmark, 2018; Erixon & Hansson, 2018; Westerlund, 2018). Within the Netherlands, a broader definition of the teaching profession adds the role of supporter of pupils’ learning as well as the role of developer and organizer of teaching and learning. It also requires the involvement of teachers in school and system policy setting, and asks them to be a supporter of the learning of their colleagues (Snoek et al., 2018).
The English contribution to the symposium reports on a close to practice research project and its outcomes for teacher PD. Thematic analysis identified key themes and suggestions for improving close to practice projects in the future. The Swedish paper provides a glimpse of teachers’ perspectives on professional development within a master’s degree programme. The specific aim of the study was to analyse 14 reports written by researching teachers enrolled in the master programme, focusing on how the practitioners perceive, interpret and value teacher knowledge and academic knowledge in their own research. The paper contribution from the Netherlands provides a model of professional development within a shared frame of reference and language for teachers, school leaders and teacher educators; aims to support infrastructure for teachers who have the ambition to develop during their career.
Alexiadou, N. (2014). Policy Learning and Europeanisation in Education. In (Eds.) A. Nordin & D. Sundberg. Transnational policy flows in European education: Oxford: Symposium, 123-140. Erixon Arreman, I., Hansson, K. & U. Bergmark (2018). Reforms for scientific-based education and proven experience in Sweden. Paper presentation at the ECER, Bolzano, 3-7 Sept. 2018. Gerwitz, S., Mahony, P., Hextall, I., & A. Cribb (Eds) (2009). Introduction. Changing teacher professionalism. Oxon: Routledge, 3-16. Erixon, PO & K. Hansson (2018). Continuing Professional Development. Paper presentation at the ECER, Bolzano, 3-7 Sept. Hargreaves, A., & Goodson, I. (Eds.) (1996/2003). Teachers’ Professional Lives: Teachers’ professional lives. Taylor & Francis, 1-27. OECD (2018). Teaching in Focus. Paris: OECD. Sarfatti Larson, M. (1979/2012). The Rise of Professionalism. New York: Routledge Snoek, M., de Wit, B., Dengerink, J., van Eldik, S., van der Wolk, W., & Wirtz, N. (2018). Een beroepsbeeld voor de leraar. In: F. Cörvers, & M. van der Meer (Eds.) Onderwijs aan het werk - 2018: analyses, feiten en visies over werken in het onderwijs. Den Haag: CAOP, 197-209. Westerlund, S. (2018). Career teachers in Sweden. Paper presentation at the ECER, Bolzano, 3-7 Sept. Wyse, D., Brown, C., Oliver, S., Poblete, X. (2018). The BERA Close to Practice Research Project, Autumn 137: 15-16.
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