01 SES 06 A, Teacher Professional Learning and Development in 11 European Countries (Part III)
Symposium Part III, continued from 01 SES 02 A (Part I) and 01 SES 03 A (Part II)
In 2011 the journal Professional Development in Education published a special issue entitled “Professional Development in Education: European Perspectives” (Jones and O’Brien, 2011 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19415257.2011.616108 ). Since that time, new thinking has emerged in the field of teacher education and new models have emerged to reflect the changing patterns and policies which relate to the ways educational professionals maintain and enhance professional practice. Significant developments have been the recognition of teaching as a complex activity and the acknowledgement that the application of ‘training’ in classroom practice is not a linear process. In addition, deeper understanding of the need for schools to be learning organisations, incorporating new models of teacher leadership and practitioner inquiry, with a strong focus on pedagogy and social justice, have prompted policy makers and leaders at national, regional and local levels to provide more varied opportunities for their education professionals to keep up to date. In essence, these changes are reflected in the use of terminology to emphasise the importance of professional learning as well as professional development.
Although there is growing consensus in international literature on the most effective ways of supporting teacher professional learning, it has become apparent that practice across Europe is by no means uniform. This is the third in a series of symposia designed to bring together perspectives of the ways in which different European countries approach teacher professional learning and development.
The symposia will take on a new significance following the Covid pandemic of 2020/2021. Teachers, school leaders and policy makers across Europe found themselves ‘behind the curve’ in seeking new ways of maintaining student learning during long periods of school closure. The steep learning curve facing many professionals in developing online learning support has resonated across the world and the presenters of the papers in this symposium will be asked to provide a brief analysis of the ways in which education professionals and policy makers in their own countries have addressed these challenges.
This symposium will provide an opportunity for educators, researchers and policy makers to look critically at policy and practice of PLD in their countries, specifically Austria, Romania, Portugal and Estonia. The symposium will stimulate open dialogue and critical discussion and enable perspectives to be shared through a comparative consideration of differing ideologies and practice, using research into policy and practice in Europe to illustrate current theory.
An important aspect of teacher PLD is the relationship between research in education and practice inside the classroom (Ostinelli, 2016). In fact, if the teacher is to become a true professional, s/he should not only be able to model her/his action in conformity with the more recent pedagogical approaches, but also be capable of adapting/transforming and/or creating new knowledge and new competencies.
For a similar evolution to happen there is the need for some important changes to happen in the various national school systems. Kennedy’s (2014) classification of various models of professional learning and development gave an insight into how CPD or PLD are interpreted in different systems and institutions, from the provision of training, often in a deficit situation, to collaborative models epitomised by professional learning communities, to transformative approaches underpinned by practitioner research and inquiry.
There is still a variety of practice at individual, institutional, and national levels. Policy varies, terminology varies and practice varies. This symposium will continue from symposia 1 and 2 to bring together education professionals from four different countries to compare and contrast the different approaches to professional learning and development in their own contexts.
Jones, K and O'Brien, J (2011) Editorial Professional Development in Education 37.5 645-650 Kennedy, A. (2014) Models of Continuing Professional Development: a framework for analysis. PD in Education, 40(3), 336-351 Ostinelli, G. (2016). The many forms of research-informed practice: A framework for mapping diversity. European Journal of Teacher Education, 39(5), 534-549
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