01 SES 12 A, Investigating ‘Effective’ CPD
Parallel Paper Session
The retention and development of science teachers is an issue of importance across the continent. In 2008, a Nuffield report on science education in Europe (Osborne and Dillon, 2008) recommended that "Good quality teachers, with up-to-date knowledge and skills, are the foundation of any system of formal science education. Systems to ensure the recruitment, retention and continuous professional training of such individuals must be a policy priority in Europe." This paper examines one aspect of this issue: to what extent does Continuing Professional Development (CPD) affect science teachers' career development and retention in the profession? It is based on a study which examines the relationships between CPD provided by the network of Science Learning Centres (SLCs) in England (Bishop and Denleg, 2006) and teacher careers and retention.
The design of the study was underpinned by a review of international literature on the relationship between teacher CPD more broadly, and teacher career development and retention in the profession. One key outcome of the review was a new model of these relationships, drawing on a general level model of professional development impact (Coldwell and Simkins, 2011), which itself grew from the work of Guskey (2000) and others. The model indicates that professional development interventions can have an impact on career development, but that this is mediated by other outcomes, specifically professional knowledge and improved practice (Opfer et al, 2008). Taken together, these impacts influence intentions related to career and thence to actual career development and/or retention in the profession. However, the potential effects on career are influenced by two further sets of variables. The first of these - individual factors - concern what the individuals engaged in the professional development activity bring with them. Key individual factors identified in the literature on impact of CPD include teacher motivation (Betterham et al, 2006), "career potential", prior skills and knowledge (Opfer et al, 2008), and career phase (Huberman, 1995). The second set of variables - contexts - concerns all of those factors beyond the locus of the individual that enhance or inhibit the likelihood of CPD having an impact on career. In earlier work we identified that the "importance of the school environment in influencing teacher learning, especially when this has a significant school-based element, is now well-recognized" (Simkins, Coldwell and Close, 2009) with the culture of the school (Bubb et al, 2008) being particularly important here.
Batterham, J., Page, J. and Boon, M. (2006) Believers, Seekers and sceptics. What teachers think about continuing professional development. Wellcome trust briefing. Bishop, K and Denleg, P (2006) Science learning centres and governmental policy for continuing professional development (CPD) in England Journal of In-Service Education 32 (1), 85-102. Bubb, S., Earley,P., Hempel-Jorgensen, A. (2008) Staff development outcomes study report. The London centre for leadership in learning. Coldwell, M. and Simkins, T., (2011). Level models of continuing professional development evaluation: a grounded review and critique. Professional Development in Education, 37 (1), 143-157. Guskey, T., (2000). Evaluating professional development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Huberman, M. (1995) Professional careers and professional development and some intersections, in: T. Guskey and M. Huberman (eds) Professional development in education: new perspectives and practices New York: Teachers College Press, 193–224. Opfer, V. D., Pedder, D., Lavicza, Z. (2008) Schools and continuing professional development. (CPD) in England – State of the Nation research project (T34718) Cambridge University. Training and Development Agency for Schools. Osborne, J. and Dillon, J. (2008) Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections. London: Nuffield Foundation. Simkins, T., Coldwell, M. and Close, P., (2009) Outcomes of in-school leadership development work: a study of three NCSL programmes. Educational management, administration and leadership. 37 (1), 29-50.
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