01 SES 17 B, Professional Development, Praxis and Pedagogy
In accordance with the ECER 2019 theme, continuing professional development, CPD, is required to align the teaching profession with new curricular demands that global societal changes (e.g. Bolam & McMahom, 2010; Borko, 2004) and new education research findings entail. Teachers may need support to create student learning environments in which the students gain knowledge and competences needed for them to be appropriately prepared for their future professional and personal lives. Research shows, however, that “top down” CPD efforts on a general level often do not generate the desired changes in practice (e.g. Opfer & Pedder, 2011; Timperley, 2013).
Additionally, in the context of the present study, the revised Swedish School Act from 2010 (The Swedish Parliament, 2010) states that ‘Education should rest on scientific grounds and proven experience.’ (§ 5, Author’s translation). Hence, teachers at all levels need to provide practices which are informed by research evidence (Biesta, 2007). Teachers may need training in interpreting and finding guidance from research evidence. Furthermore, they may need support in how to investigate their own practice in accordance with methods used in the research community, as in ‘teacher inquiry’ (Timperley, 2013), to improve their practice and to contribute to ‘proven experience’.
On request by the Swedish government, The Swedish National Agency of Education therefore provides free research-informed modules of CPD, modelled after Timperley’s (2013) iterative cycles for collaborative learning in professional teacher learning communities (Shulman & Shulman, 2004), including financial support for recruiting teachers as process leaders (Rönnerman, 2018). Some modules are subject specific, and others are interdisciplinary; however, they are all have focused on formative approaches and language development in the teaching practice. Thus, all modules emphasize the need to work with the cognitive support for the students, regardless of level of student achievement, and provide research-informed tools and models for the teachers to use to provide this support. Since the cognitive support and language developing tools are designed to be used on class or group level, the modules additionally provide guidance for teachers in their efforts aimed at pedagogical, not only physical, inclusion for all students; the modules point to the need to increase the cognitive support in the class room rather than simplifying assignments for students who struggle to reach the curricular goals (Körling, 2006; 2017). Swedish teachers are required to adjust their practice on individual levels for pedagogical inclusion of all students into the group context, e.g. class room. An initial analysis of the adjustments that are documented at compulsory schools indicate that structural and organizational adjustments are, by far, more frequent than adjustments aimed at providing cognitive support thus, the practice of adjustments does not seem to be informed by research to a satisfying degree. Furthermore, the structural adjustments are most frequently aimed at helping the students reach the minimum requirements for passing the tests and assessments. The structural adjustments are not explicitly aimed at equipping the struggling students with skills and strategies to meet the demands and requirements emerging in our rapidly changing societies, thus they are not aimed at giving the students the best possible preparation to become active citizens in democratic societies.
The aim of the present study is to investigate to what extent and in what ways teachers, participating in collaborative learning modules, focused on language development and cognitive support, regardless of subject taught, make use of the research informed tools and models provided in the CPD modules. Furthermore, the ways in which the changed teaching practice have impact on student participation in group level activities, reflection and critical thinking is investigated.
70 teachers covering student ages 6-16 years and all subjects, participated during semester 1 in the same general module. The present semester (nr 2), the teachers participate in different modules based the subjects which they teach. The modules provide concrete tools and models for the teachers to use as practice and to reflect on. The long-term aim of the CPD is that teachers start including new approaches for language development and cognitive support, based on their experiences from practicing the tools, as an integrated part of their instruction. The 8 articles included in the general module, which was processed during semester number 1, were analyzed in the purpose of identifying such new teacher approaches which have been observed in previous research studies. Further teacher approaches were identified through a qualitative research interview with one of the most experienced module process leaders. Finally, indicators for positive impact, from the new teacher approaches, on student language and cognitive development were identified from the research-based articles and from the interview. The data is collected using an app called LoopMe (https://www.loopme.io/home) in two different ways. One collection method generates qualitative data for an inductive content analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006): The teachers reflect twice a month around the tools which they have used, any impact which they can observe from using these tools and which effects these observations will have on their future teaching practice. The other method generates quantitative data for deductive analysis as well as qualitative data for an inductive analysis: The LoopMe app has been prepared with 15 different tags, which the teacher can click in real time during their teacher practice. The tags describe, in short, the different teacher approaches and the different indicators for positive student impact which were identified from the initial analysis of the research articles and the interview. One tag is left empty so that the teachers can report on other approaches and indicators than the ones which we have identified. All tags provide space for the teacher to add qualitative information. Once a month the teachers meet in TLC:s for collaborative learning in cross-groups based on the student age in which they teach, rather than being based on the subject they teach, as is the case in the module groups. Each teacher makes his/her own selection of reflections to share from the data stored under the personal log-in in LoopMe.
From the deductive analysis of the quantitative data collected through the tags we expect to confirm previous research results. We also expect to contribute with new teacher approaches and indicators for student language and cognitive development from the empty tag and the qualitative data adjoining the tags. From the teachers’ general reflections, separated from the tags, we expect to identify long-term impact on the teachers’ practice in terms of sustainable changes for improved language and cognitive support to the students: 1) that individual adjustments for the students are less focused on structural arrangements in exchange for more cognitive support, 2) that individual adjustments are incorporated into the group level teaching practice, thus 3) increasing the degree of genuine pedagogical inclusion of all students into the group/class.
Biesta, G. (2007). Why ‘‘what works’’ won’t work: Evidence-based practice and the democratic deficit in educational research. Educational Theory, (57)1, 1–22. Bolam, R., & McMahon, A. (2010). Literature, definitions and models: towards a conceptual map. In Day, C. and Sachs, J. (eds): International Handbook on the Continuing Professional Development of Teachers. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd. Originally published in 2004. Borko, H. (2004). Professional Development and Teacher Learning: Mapping the Terrain. Educational Researcher, (33)3, 3-15. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp. 77-101. ISSN 1478-0887 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/11735 Day, C., & Sachs, J. (2010). Professionalism, performativity and empowerment: discourses in the politics, policies and purposes of continuing professional development. In C. Day, & J. Sachs (eds): International Handbook on the Continuing Professional Development of Teachers. Glasgow: Bell & Bain Ltd. Originally published in 2004. Körling, A-M. (2006). Kiwimetoden: medveten undervisning - medvetet lärande. Stockholm: Bonnier utbildning. Körling, A-M. (2017). Textsamtal och bildpromenader. Stockholm. Lärarförlaget Opfer, V. D., & Pedder, D. (2011). Conceptualizing Teacher Professional Learning. Review of Educational Research, (81)3, 376-407. DOI: 10.3102/0034654311413609 Rönnerman, K. (2018). Att leda från mitten - Lärare som driver professionell utveckling. Falun: ScandBook AB. Shulman, L. S., & Shulman, J. H. (2004). How and what teachers learn: a shifting perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, (36)2, 257-271. The Swedish Parliament, 2010. The Swedish School Act (2010:800). https://www.riksdagen.se/sv/dokument-agar/dokument/svensk-forfattningssamling/skollag-2010800_sfs-2010-800 Timperley, H. (2013). Realizing the Power of Professional Learning. Open University Press. ISBN 9780335244041
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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