01 SES 06 B, Theory and Research: In Search of Improvement
Parallel Paper Session
It is universally agreed that staff development is a good thing but much money has been spent on training and development activities without a commensurate impact on pupils’ learning and wellbeing. With financial constraints hitting education systems across the world, the time is right to try to understand professional development better for as Lawless and Pellegrino (2007) state although the number of opportunities for teachers has increased, our understanding about what constitutes quality professional development, what teachers learn from it, or its impact on student outcomes has not substantially changed. Ascertaining the difference staff development makes is a complex process. Exposure to and participation in staff development activities may or may not bring about change to individuals’ beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours. These changes to individuals may or may not lead to changes in the classroom and school practice. And these changes may or may not lead to improvement in pupil outcomes. Borko (2004) Opfer and Pedder (2011) and Timperley and Alton-Lee (2008) have argued that the problem stems from simplistic conceptualizations of teacher professional learning that fail to consider how learning is embedded in professional lives and working conditions. This paper thus explores what is known internationally about what professional development is and aims to draw up a theoretical framework that will help training and development activities have greater impact.
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