01 SES 12 A, Investigating ‘Effective’ CPD
Parallel Paper Session
Effective provision of teacher CPD is clearly important in supporting the implementation of curricular change, particularly during rapid developments in subject knowledge. However, it is often one of the first casualties in times of economic recession. Also, while we know something about what constitutes good practice in teachers’ professional development and learning there is relatively little research on the needs of science teachers.
The OECD stresses the link between Scientific literacy and economic and social progress (eg OECD 2007) yet there is a consensus that science education faces serious challenges worldwide, for example the lack of educational and financial resources, linked to a shortage of adequately trained teachers. This is even more marked in developing countries. (eg ICSU 2011, EU 2004, 2007; OECD 2006a; OSTP 2010, Osborne & Dillon 2008, Royal Society 2010; UNESCO 2008).
Within this context, this paper focuses on the key findings and issues to emerge from a study conducted by the SCRE Centre and the Inter-disciplinary Centre for Research and Teaching in STEM Education at the University of Glasgow of the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre’s (SSERC) national Support for Science Education in Scotland through CPD programme (2008-11). The programme used practically-based, residential and non-residential workshops for primary and secondary science teachers and technical support staff. The programme also included leadership courses for new and aspiring school managers and CPD courses and events for technicians.
The research draws on Activity Theory (eg Engestrom 2001) but also addresses dynamics of power and agency to better understand the processes by which CPD can transform practice. The paper places the findings in the context of wider research on effective professional development and learning to provide timely and internationally relevant information to policy makes, academics and practitioners.
The research had two main Phases:
Phase 1 focused on these stakeholders’ assessments of their CPD for the period 2005 to 2008.
Phase 2 focused on participants in the CPD programme from 2008 onwards.
The research had a key focus on participants' use of new knowledge and skills acquired via the CPD programme and whether or not these helped them to make a difference in their professional practice. Data gathering took place at least eight months after participants most recent SSERC CPD event to allow participants time to implement lessons/activities from the CPD; as recommended by Guskey (2000).
Engestrom, Y. 2001. Expansive Learning at Work: toward and activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work [Online].14 (1), pp 133-156. EU (European Union) (2004). Europe needs more scientists! European Commission, Brussels. Directorate-General for Research High Level Group on Human Resources for Science and Technology in Europe. http://europa.eu.int/ comm/research/conferences/2004/sciprof/pdf/final_en.pdf. EU (European Union) (2007). Science Education Now: A renewed pedagogy for the future of Europe (The Rocard Report). European Commission, Brussels. Guskey, T. R. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Thousand Oaks, Ca., Corwen Press. ICSU (2011). Report of the ICSU Ad-hoc Review Panel on Science Education. International Council for Science, Paris. NSLC and UYSEG (2010) Professional Reflections: International Perspectives on Science Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development. https://www.sciencelearningcentres.org.uk/research-and-impact/research-seminars/ Professionalrefl ectionsseminarreport.pdf OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (2006a) Evolution of Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies Policy Report, Global Science Forum. May 2006. OECD, Paris. Osborne, J.F., & Dillon, J. (2008). Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections. Nuffield Foundation, London. OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy) (2010) Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future. September 2010. Royal Society (2010). Science and Mathematics Education, 5 – 14. A ‘state of the nation report’. The Royal Society, London. UNESCO (2008). Science education policy-making: Eleven emerging issues. UNESCO, Paris.
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