01 SES 03 A, Teacher Professional Learning and Development in 11 European Countries (Part II)
Symposium Part II, continued from 01 SES 02 A (Part I), to be continued in 01 SES 06 A (Part III)
Professional learning is most effective in collaborative cultures but the learning process is individual (requiring active rather than passive engagement), often informal (Evans, 2019) and always complex (Opfer and Pedder, 2011). For teachers, the intended outcome must always be student-related, but the setting up of simple, linear models intended to achieve specific outcomes is increasingly being questioned (Boylan, 2018). Governments, policy makers and leaders at all levels are accountable for the education of their students and the performance of their teachers. To what extent, therefore, can governments create and implement national professional learning policies that must impact equitably on all students and all teachers? In recent years the Welsh Government has been setting out its proposals for major changes to its education system. The changes were fuelled by a series of poor performances in PISA and the challenges were summed up in the OECD report on education in Wales (OECD 2014) which highlighted the need to build new professional approaches in constructing a radically different approach to professional learning. Political leaders in Wales have set out to transform not only the curriculum but the ways in which the education system is defined. A new National Mission (Welsh Government, 2017) was put forward, built on a consultative approach to policy making and a high degree of trust in the teaching profession. Change is claimed to be through ‘co-construction’ and partnership, with all parties working as part of high energy collaborative networks and guided by the aims of the National Mission. Underpinning all education changes in Wales is the recognition that the professional learning of teachers is central to making the changes work: “Teachers should be the most dedicated students in the classroom. We will support them to be lifelong professional learners to help raise standards for all our young people” (Welsh Government, 2017 p27) The collaborative mood (and inclusive approach) is summed up by the Tweet from Welsh Government (2019): “Education in Wales is changing. From 2022 there’ll be a new curriculum. Designed by teachers. Built for children. Made for a fast-changing world” (https://gov.wales/education-changing ) This paper will examine the new National Approach to Professional Learning in Wales (Welsh Government, 2018), taking a critical analysis using current models of professional learning and theories of complexity to consider potential obstacles to policy implementation.
Boylan, M. et al. , 2018. Rethinking models of professional learning as tools: a conceptual analysis to inform research and practice. Professional development in Education , 44 (1), 120–139 Evans, L. (2019) Implicit and informal professional development: what it ‘looks like’, how it occurs, and why we need to research it Professional development in education 45.1 2019 3-16 Opfer, V.D. and Pedder, D. (2011) Conceptualizing Teacher Professional Learning Review of Educational Research 81.3 376-407 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2014) Improving Schools in Wales: An OECD Perspective http://www.oecd.org/education/Improving-schools-in-Wales.pdf (accessed 20 May 2019) Welsh Government (2017) Education in Wales: Our national mission Action Plan 2017-2021E. Enabling Objective 1: Developing a high quality education profession p25-27 Welsh Government (2018) The National Approach to Professional Learning (https://gov.wales/national-approach-professional-learning-napl)
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