10 FEBRUARY 2016
How Should Teacher Learning Develop Over Time?
Initial teacher has to be situated, teachers have to have practice and experience in schools. But in my view that is not enough. University colleagues have a lot to contribute as they are used to thinking about research. Teachers’ knowledge is often much more tacit and university colleagues have experience in eliciting this. There are multiple aspects to cover: a teacher needs to understand how schools work; how children develop; and how to translate plans into practice. Teaching is a skill that takes time to acquire.
What a teacher needs in the first couple of years in teaching is not what they need later on in their career. Paradoxically younger teachers are more open to learning, more innovative and creative. But they also need support and mentoring from their more experienced colleagues.
A teacher in the middle years of their career may need challenge. This is where practitioner enquiry has huge potential to motivate teachers who may have become less open to changing their approach. Teachers can accumulate knowledge throughout their working lives through experience but also through more explicit enquiry.
Significant numbers of teachers will then also be seeking additional responsibilities and so the question arises of supporting their leadership development.
Professional learning needs may vary considerably between individuals dependent on their particular circumstances and their career aspirations. It is important to recognize this in developing approaches to Continuing Professional Development and Learning.
This and many other issues around teacher development are discussed in Making a Difference, Turning Teacher Learning Inside-out. This book provides a very current, condensed update on the research on what works in teacher learning and the development of practice as a result of teacher learning. It sets out with two different aims both to influence policy and to showcase the evidence on teacher development and learning. It is accessible at the school level as well as regionally, nationally and internationally. It is written by people who have worked in the field for a very long time and have extensive experience of practice, policy making and research.
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