Institute for Teaching Welcomes Changes To Qualified Teacher Status

The Institute for Teaching welcomes today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, on the changes being made to how we help early career teachers to keep getting better - including the extension of the induction period for new teachers to two years.

Strengthening this ‘early career’ stage of their development is essential if we’re going to make sure that every pupil, regardless of their background, gets a great education. Teachers need at least as much effort to go into their development as they put into their teaching.

We played an active role in the consultation on QTS and Improving Career Progression for Teachers - holding events around the country so that teachers could help to shape this policy. It’s particularly exciting to see the voices we heard during our consultation events being reflected in the policy changes announced today. The message ‘if you’re going to do this, do it well’ is being heard loud and clear.

We need to continue striving to make England the best place in the world to be a teacher and these changes, alongside policies like teacher sabbaticals, tackling workload and more flexible working are putting us on the right path.

 

Matthew Hood

Director, Institute for Teaching


Meet our Masters' teachers (and their schools)

Lift-off. 2 November 2017 and the (Institute for Teaching) rocket was safely off the launchpad, with the help of our friends at Oasis Academy MediaCity. Our mission (amongst other missions): to finish designing the world’s best course for teachers looking to develop mastery in their classroom, and to fill it with a a small group of brilliant (and brave) teachers.

You can read about some of the progress we’ve made on the first half of that mission – designing the course – in our blog series and recent paper on expert teaching from Masters course lead, Peps Mccrea. But now I’d like to share a few takeaways from the second half of the mission – filling the course.

This coming Wednesday (11 April 2018) we will welcome a group of 25 teachers to London for three days to begin Sprint One from Module One of our Masters in Expert Teaching course. So, what can we tell you about this intrepid group of teachers/astronauts? And what more about the schools that they are hailing from?

Our teachers first.

Getting better is their only option

The raw willpower of the teachers we’ve met to improve their craft on a daily basis has been inspiring for all of us. Last week I spoke with a secondary teacher who spends his PPA time planning lessons whilst sat at the back of his colleagues’ classes, picking up and embedding their best tactics and ideas. Initially an experiment a year ago, he now spends all of his non-contact time around the school sampling the best that he can find.

Another teacher, 19 years into his career, feels more motivated than ever to be at the top of his game. While his own children attend band practice at the weekend, he carves out time to focus on his development as a teacher.

But it’s not one-size-fits-all when it comes to teacher development – across town in West London, and only a few years into her career, a primary teacher has learned that ‘leaving school at school’ leads to the biggest gains in her own mindset and teaching (see our recent blog on teacher wellbeing and passion). During her video interview, she taught us how and when to use the active and passive tense – her performance was mesmerising.

This appetite for improvement – clear to see in all of our 25 teachers – is no mean feat when we consider that they are operating at the very limit of their personal capacity every day. Although most had considered a Masters before, the feasibility and impact of extended research and writing assignments had put them off. Their message to us was clear – help them to focus only on the things that will make the biggest difference to their daily performance, and protect them from low-impact, time intensive content. We are on it!

If you’re a teacher and you’d like to tell us your story then we would love to hear from you. Drop us an email here.

And what did we learn about their schools?

Places to grow a career

A big thank you to all of the schools that generously opened their doors to us to talk teacher development over the last 6 months (and the 18 months before that too!). There would be no mission at all for the Institute for Teaching if schools didn’t value the development (and retention) of their existing teachers over the upstream battle to find new ones.

A headteacher (and accomplished jazz musician) at a very successful Rochdale school captured this brilliantly as he drew parallels between the journey that teachers must take towards fluency and mastery in their work, and the journey taken by jazz musicians towards effortless improvisation. Most evenings he will check into his school’s music room around 7 pm for a round on the drums and to replenish his energy levels.

And every year he sees incredibly low turnover of staff, all of whom are on a dedicated learning pathway to ensure that they can keep getting better. We are really looking forward to working with this particular school next year.

This year we are working with 18 schools across Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, London and the south-east, each making a very tangible investment in the development of one or several of their high-performing teachers.

Next year we’re upping our efforts to meet and get to know more schools. If you’d like us to come and visit yours then just drop us an email.

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Before joining the IfT, Ed most recently worked as a director at Teach for All where he helped establish and scale new variants of the ‘Teach First’ model around the world. Prior to this he led a growth and transformation team at Teach First. Ed is also a qualified teacher, and co-founder and trustee of East London Arts & Music Academy.

Ed Butcher

Talent & Partnerships Director, Institute for Teaching

Expert teaching: 3. How might we help teachers to build expert knowledge?

Peps Mccrea, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

In this blog series, I’ve explored what expert teachers do differently in the classroom, before arguing that these behaviours are underpinned by what teachers know, and outlined four teacher knowledge domains.

In this blog, I want to dig a little bit deeper into expert teacher knowledge. This is important because it's not just what teachers know that makes the difference, but how this knowledge is organised to guide what teachers see, the decisions they make, and the actions they take.


Expert teacher knowledge is:

1. Extensive

They have a broad, deeply connected and evidence-informed understanding of the domains outlined in the previous blog. In short, few people know their subject, their pupils, and how to teach them as well as they do.

2. Actionable

This knowledge is knitted together with information from their school context. Their conceptual understanding is combined with the cues they routinely encounter in their classroom as a result of multiple interactions with their pupils.

3. Fluent

The vast majority of this knowledge can be accessed and used rapidly, and with very little effort. The automatic nature of this knowledge also means that expert teachers are not always aware of, or able to fully articulate, what they are doing. This can also make it hard for them to make and sustain significant changes to their knowledge and habits.

4. Meaningful

Expert teacher knowledge is threaded throughout with their personal and professional values. They care deeply about their craft, their subject, and about elevating the life chances of their pupils. As a result, they take full responsibility for their actions, and are driven to continually improve their practice.


Developing teacher expertise is largely a process of helping teachers to build the kinds of knowledge outlined above. Some of this unfolds fairly naturally to a certain extent through experience – particularly those aspects which have a longstanding role in our evolutionary history as a species. For example, building trusting relationships with pupils.

However, there are also aspects of expert knowledge that we are much less likely to develop through experience alone. Particularly those that are unintuitive or hard to measure. For example, interleaving practice or delayed feedback.

To develop these kinds of models, our best bet is to be intentional in supporting teachers to:

  • Explore the evidence around the most persistent problems of their practice
  • Translate this evidence and implement it with fidelity in their local context
  • Iterate their approaches with the support of coach feedback and rapid-cycle impact evaluation
  • Habituate the most effective changes so that they persist over time despite changes in policy

The process outlined above is the basis of our Instructional Development Protocol, the framework that underpins development towards expertise on our Masters. You can find out more, get in touch with our Talent and Partnerships team and express your interest here.

Coming up...

I hope you've found this blog series useful. For the full picture, check out our Expert Teaching paper.

 

 

 


Expert teaching: 2. What do expert teachers know, and how is that knowledge organised?

Peps Mccrea, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

In my previous blog I outlined what expert teachers do differently in the classroom. But how might we help people to develop these behaviours? The answer appears to lie, to a large extent, in developing their professional and practical knowledge.

What expert teachers know guides how they behave. However, it is not just about what they know, but also about how that knowledge is organised. In this blog post, I'm going to consider the 'what'.


The literature on expert teacher knowledge falls roughly into four broad categories:

1. Path

Knowledge of the pathway towards mastery of a curriculum. This includes the concepts and process that pupils need to know at different stages of their educational journeys, how these things might be best represented and sequenced, and the common misconceptions that pupils might develop along the way.

2. Pupil

Knowledge of what their pupils know and don't know, what motivates and concerns them, and how these things change over time. The development of pupil knowledge is produced (and limited) by teacher assessment knowledge: how to assess with validity and efficiency.

3. Pedagogy

Knowledge of how learning works and how to catalyse it. This is about understanding what goes on 'under the hood' of the classroom, and draws on fields such as cognitive, evolutionary and behavioural science alongside personal experience, to help teachers build a 'mental model of the learner'.

4. Self-regulation

Knowledge of how to analyse, evaluate and iterate their own knowledge and behaviour towards greater impact, including an awareness of our own cognitive biases and how to mitigate them.


A teacher needs to have extensive (and well organised) knowledge in each of these domains to perform with expertise. For example, if you ask an expert to teach a different subject or year group, or even give them a new group of pupils, they are no longer likely to enable exceptional outcomes. In short, expertise is highly domain-specific. Even the PE teacher who is proficient at teaching fitness may be woefully lacking when it comes to teaching racket sports.

This model of expertise has various implications for schools. For example, the 'interview lesson' conducted by many schools during recruitment can limit just how expert a teacher can be in this situation. It also raises questions about how to make the best use of human capital in schools. Is it better for secondary teachers specialise in phases? For primary teachers specialise in subjects?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but as part of our work at the IfT we're seeking to develop a greater understanding of teacher expertise, and how we can develop it.

In this blog I've considered what expert teachers know; if you'd like to find out a bit more about what the research says on this, have a look at the third section of my paper – Expert Teaching: What is it, and how might we develop it. 3. Expertise as Mental Models

In our final #ExpertTeaching blog...

Peps will outline what the literature says about how we can develop expert teacher knowledge.


Expert teaching: 1. What do expert teachers do differently?

Peps Mccrea, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

What is an expert teacher? In a previous blog, I argued that to answer this question, we need to tackle it from a number of different perspectives:

  • Impact – Expert teachers consistently help their pupils to make exceptional progress
  • Action – Expert teachers do certain things to achieve this impact
  • Knowledge – What teachers know underpins what they do

In this blog, I want to look at the action perspective. More specifically, I want to offer a glimpse into the things the research suggests that expert teachers do differently to enable them to have exceptional impact. Let’s group these behaviours into four broad categories:

Perception

Expert teachers appear to see their classrooms in a different way to novices. Like the football keeper who focusses on an attacker’s posture to anticipate where they will kick, expert teachers are tuned in to the most critical, revealing and often subtle movements of their classrooms.

They perceive events at a deeper level, focussing almost exclusively on those things that allow them to draw conclusions about pupil learning. In many ways, experts can be distinguished as much by what they don’t do as what they do.

Simulation

Expert teachers are able to simulate the consequences of various actions and events over a range of familiar situations. This allows them to anticipate what might happen well in advance, and so to make the make the most effective professional judgment. This explains why their lessons often appear to just happen in fairly uneventful ways – they are constantly several steps ahead of their pupils, and others in the room!

Execution

Although they tend to do less than their colleagues, and sometimes take longer to arrive at a decision, expert teachers consistently select the most effective actions across a wide range of situations. They are also more flexible and opportunistic in their choice of actions, and carry them out with fluency and precision.

Conservation

Expert teachers do much of their work on ‘automatic pilot’. This allows them to devote a large proportion of their mental capacity to monitoring the complex, energetic environment of the classroom. It also allows them to focus their attention and energy on only the most important teaching processes, and tackle unexpected problems as they arise. As a result, expert teachers are highly sensitive to, and can keep track of (and better remember) what happens during a lesson, even whilst they are engaging with individuals.

These four broad categories are what allow expert teachers to have a big impact.

The big question is: how do we help people to develop these behaviours?

If you’re interested in reading about this subject in a bit more detail have a look at the first two sections of my paper - Expert Teaching: What is it, and how might we develop it. 1. Expertise as Impact & 2. Expertise as Action

In our next blog…

Peps will focus on the ways in which we can develop these four key behaviours in teachers.

To find out more about how Peps and the IfT team are developing great practice through our evidence-informed Masters in Expert Teaching visit our Masters page.

Expert teaching delivers the best outcomes for pupils when its supported by great leadership and teacher development. On our 'whole-school' Transforming Teaching programme, we provide bespoke training to educators at all levels to support long-lasting improvements in teaching, retention and career progression.


What do we know about rest and recovery?

Jacynth Bennett, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

As part of our Wellbeing programme we’ve been exploring the psychology behind the effective use of rest and recovery time. We all know it’s important, but it’s challenging for teachers to use it well alongside the demands of their day job. We were keen to develop our understanding of the research so we could, in turn, help teachers to be more strategic when it comes to planning what they do during their down time.

What is recovery time? Why do we need it?

In our day-to-day work life we use lots of resources – both psychological and physical. This is particularly true of teachers, who experience significant demands on both. Emotional and cognitive resources are needed throughout the day, as well as the physical resources needed to maintain the energy to be on their feet all day long in the classroom and around school. Psychology shows us we need to give ourselves plenty of opportunities to replenish these stores. And the best way to do that? By NOT using them at all!

Even better, deploying completely different resources helps with complete restoration. Managing our stores well is shown to support our ability to engage with our work and protect us from burning out.

When should we take recovery time?

Recovery time can be anything from a long summer holiday to tiny micro breaks during a school day. Research shows, however, that good strategies for regular daily recovery protect people against burnout in a way that waiting for weekends and holidays just doesn’t. It’s vital for our wellbeing that we think about the rituals we perform on a daily basis, whether they’re moments in the working day or things we do before or after school.

What makes for good recovery time?

The characteristics of the activities we do in our recovery time are important. Research shows there are 4 key attributes that really make a difference. These are psychological detachment; mastery (e.g. of a skill or hobby); relaxation and a sense of control during off job time.

Psychological detachment in a caring profession like teaching can be hard but is important. Switching off emails, trying strategies such as mindfulness or journaling before bed to guide thoughts away from that tricky class, pile of marking or upcoming lesson, can all support psychological detachment.

Getting a sense of mastery in our free time is a powerful tool. Hobbies that enable us to learn new things can have a real impact here. So many leisure activities give us relaxation and this is shown to really help. Lastly, thinking about how to strategically plan breaks and slots of time before or after school can give us a helpful sense of control over our down time.

Which activities best support recovery?

  • Getting your trainers on – Research shows that sport is a great way of supporting the recovery of the resources we use at work – no surprises there.
  • Focusing your thoughts – Activities that promote relaxation such as yoga, mindfulness and meditation are shown to be powerful in replenishing our psychological reserves.
  • Getting out and about – According to recent research from Finland, engaging in physical activity in natural environments is one of the most effective ways of rebuilding your reserves. A short walk at lunchtime or in the evening not only restores the resources you have been using up at work, but helps you to enjoy your work even more.

There are other things to think about, including social activities. For some, an evening with friends supports this all-important recovery. For others, it depends on what they talk about, who they’re with or how energising or draining they find social interaction.

We might think that passive activities such as watching TV in the evening would help. In fact, in the field of recovery time, they are shown to be much less effective than more engaging activities like meditation, doing something creative or listening to music.

So what are we doing with this knowledge?

Through our Wellbeing programme, we’re encouraging teachers to think hard about how they use their recovery time, whilst supporting them to figure out how and when they can engage with these activities. We want to delve more deeply into ways of overcoming the barriers to psychological detachment in off work time, and think about how habit forming psychology can help teachers embed these recovery habits into their free time.

 

Read more... To find out more about some of our favourite wellbeing research, check out this article on the benefits of 'forest bathing' and how it's been adopted as part of a national health programme in Japan!


Designing professional development for teachers – 5. Prepare pragmatically

Harry Fletcher-Wood, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

Often, we hope for the best as we plan: we plan a holiday on the assumption that the sun will shine, or plan our day so there’s just enough time to do everything. We’re no different when we plan professional development programmes: we design them to work if everything goes well. However, our best-case assumptions don’t always come true: it rains, or the bus is late. When designing professional development, we need plan for reality, not just the ideal situation. We need to plan for a high turnover of staff, and teachers who face competing pressures and need more than just a good training session.

Teacher turnover and changing priorities

High teacher turnover makes it hard for even well-designed professional development to show an impact. If a two-year study starts with one hundred teachers, between those who leave teaching, move schools, or take on other roles, half the participants may drop out during the study. This is a problem for researchers, but it reflects reality in schools: In England, around one in five teachers leave their current school each year.

Even if turnover is low, priorities change. New leaders, new national policies or new local priorities can all undermine existing professional development programmes, even if they were going well.

In the longer-term, effective professional development should increase teachers’ capacity to cope, thrive and stay in their school.

In the shorter-term, teacher educators need to design professional development to achieve a significant impact as rapidly as possible. This may mean sequencing key ideas first, or adopting techniques which deliver rapid, clear results.

Teacher educators may also wish to highlight the relevance of their work to teachers, and emphasise they progress teachers have made.

The school as a system

Professional development is only one influence on teachers. Education systems are complex and resistant to change. Often, good ideas fail because they only affect one part of the system: a change in assessment may require new teacher knowledge, fresh professional development, and different approaches to accountability.

Teacher educators need to try to make professional development coherent. This means aligning what we ask teachers to do through professional development to their existing work and the school’s priorities. It also means ensuring teachers have the support they need to improve: their manager’s understanding, the appropriate resources and the necessary time, for example.

Conclusion

Previous blogs have advocated teacher educators being clear about their goals and how they meet teachers’ needs, and identifying ways to change teachers’ thinking and actions. Our efforts will be incomplete however, unless we prepare pragmatically: preparing for busy schools, teacher turnover, and the wide range of support teachers need to change. Doing so gives our professional development the best chance of success.

If you’re interested in reading about this subject in a bit more detail have a look at the fifth section of my paper, Designing Professional Development for Teachers, Prepare Pragmatically

Find out more...

If you'd like to find out more you can find Harry's Paper – Designing Professional Development for Teachers – in full here. It's the basis of these blogs and informs the design of our courses, including our Fellowship in Teacher Education (led by Harry). Find out more about how we're putting research into action.

 


Designing professional development for teachers – 4. Designing training for teachers

Harry Fletcher-Wood, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

In previous blogs in this series I’ve described a series of steps we can take towards effective professional development design:

Firstly – Identify what we want our teachers to be able to do (and their existing strengths)

Secondly – Plan to follow general principles of learning, like offering support that is suited to their needs, be they newer or more experienced teachers

The challenge now is to establish how to design the professional development itself. What kind of training and experiences support teachers to improve?

What works and what doesn’t

Mary Kennedy has reviewed the evidence on professional development and identified four types of professional development. Two, she argues, don’t work:

  • Prescription – just telling teachers what to do
  • Knowledge – presenting teachers with an abstract body of knowledge

Two are much more promising:

  • Strategies – conveying goals and ways of achieving them, helping teachers work out how to fit them to their practice
  • Insight – provoking teachers to re-examine what’s familiar: to reach ‘Aha’ moments!

Effective professional development should avoid the extremes of prescribing exactly what to do or offering knowledge without guidance on how to apply it. Instead it should help teachers to:

  • Act differently – through sharing strategies
  • Think differently – through fostering insights

This post explores how this can be done.

Supporting teachers to act differently through deliberate practice

Deliberate practice makes perfect. Many of us practise in an attempt to improve our cooking, musical or sports performance, but Anders Ericsson has examined elite performers in a range of fields – including chess, memorisation and violin performance – and describes their deliberate practice as being what really helps them to improve,

Deliberate practice means targeting specific skills, improving our mental models of those skills, and receiving feedback from a skilled coach. For teachers, this means going beyond discussing what we’re doing and planning how to teach differently, and actually practising the changes we intend to make.

This allows us to become more fluent in our basic skills. Gradually, we automate simple tasks and can focus our attention on bigger challenges: as we take the register, we are concentrating, not on the register, but on how students seem to be feeling and what this means for them and for our next activity.

This matters because the best of intentions can prove hard to stick to under the pressure of daily classroom life: if teachers have already practised what they intend to do, they are ready to act upon it. We know that training which simulates what doctors will be able to do significantly improves patient outcomes: we need to normalise this approach in education.

That said, this kind of training is challenging and unfamiliar for many teachers: it demands teacher educators plan their priorities and the order in which to achieve them, and support teachers to feel comfortable practising.

Supporting teachers to think differently

It’s even harder to design professional development that creates those ‘aha’ moments for teachers: teachers’ ‘aha’ moments will depend on what they already think and their interpretation of their training. A maxim like ‘Plan backwards’ can be repeated many times before teachers make sense of its application to their own work.

Designing training to promote insight means we need to expose teachers to provocative ideas, both as abstract ideas and through practical experiences, and give teachers time to make sense of those ideas. One powerful way to do this is to ask teachers to discuss student work with their peers, focusing on what it shows about what they have learned.

Coaching

The support teachers receive is particularly important in helping them to practise and think differently. Coaching –expert guidance in how to improve – can be a very powerful way in helping teachers to improve. It can focus teachers’ attention on specific areas of their practice (facilitating insight) and offer them guidance, models and feedback in how to change (new strategies).

Conclusion

These three sources of support all have relatively strong evidence supporting them. Ultimately, they should be seen together, not separately: for example, a new insight may lead teachers to try something differently; trying something differently may lead teachers to fresh insights, and coaches can facilitate both.

If you’re interested in reading about this subject in a bit more detail have a look at the fourth section of my paper, Designing Professional Development for Teachers, Designing training for teachers

In our next blog….

We'll explore the practical concerns teacher educators may have in making this work.

Find out about how we’re putting our research on professional development into action on our Fellowship in Teacher Education, run by Harry.


Designing professional development for teachers – 3. Designing teacher learning

Harry Fletcher-Wood, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

In our previous post I suggested the planning of teacher education should begin by looking at what we hope teachers will do and where their current strengths lie. So having identified the goals, how can we go about designing learning that enables teachers to meet them?

We might need to look at:

  • Improving knowledge: the ability to make good decisions as teachers
  • Changing behaviour: the way we put those decisions into practice
  • The social setup and the context: ways to tailor decisions and behaviours to the school, the class, and the moment

Designing learning for teachers is little different to designing for anyone else. What’s being learned may be specific to teaching, but how teachers will learn is not. So we can use what we know from cognitive psychology – the science of learning – to design great learning for teachers.

Two examples stand out for me:

  1. Novices think differently to experts

Experts – just like top sports players -  seem to act fluidly and intuitively. Their experience and knowledge allows them to perceive what’s happening differently. Experts can look at a problem and just ‘know’ how to respond, whereas novices have to painstakingly work out the solution.

A novice benefits from seeing models and being explicitly taught and supported in their thinking. An expert can learn from experience and solving problems, linking them to their existing knowledge.

Teacher educators need to respect the knowledge and experience teachers have, but that doesn’t mean treating newer teachers as experts. When planning, teacher educators may want to design clear instruction for novices, with carefully chosen models of good practice; whilst planning different activities for the more experienced teachers that are more suited to experts.

  1. Expertise is specific to a field

A great doctor may make a poor teacher, and vice versa. Expertise is even more specific than this: effective heart surgeons will struggle if asked to operate on the ankle, and a secondary history teacher will find teaching maths, Reception or even an unfamiliar course challenging. This is because it’s very hard to transfer knowledge and skill to a new context: what I know about helping students understand the causes of the English Civil War will do little to help them understand how to divide fractions.

We need to make sure our teacher education is taking this into account, by fitting it to teachers’ subjects and schools – as much as we can. New learning is linked in our minds to the context in which it’s learned: rather than asking teachers to transfer new ideas to their subject and their classroom, wherever possible we should teach them in that context.

If you’re interested in reading about this subject in a bit more detail have a look at the third section of my paper, Designing Professional Development for Teachers, Designing learning for teachers

In our next blog….

We explore the use of deliberate practice in supporting teachers.

Find out about how we’re putting our research on professional development into action on our Fellowship in Teacher Education, run by Harry.


Designing professional development for teachers – 2. Plan from need

Harry Fletcher-Wood, Associate Dean at the Institute for Teaching

The last blog noted that the consensus view of professional development is problematic.  It advocates features like collaboration, subject-specific training and sustained engagement, but this recipe isn’t always helpful for professional development designers.  So what should we do instead?

Rather than starting with how we are doing professional development, we should start with what we hope teachers will be able to do, and what they are already doing.

1. A clear goal.

The first thing is choosing what we want teachers to be able to do.  Dylan Wiliam has noted that we often plan professional development around a method – like coaching – not a goal.  We have to start, he says, by focusing on “what we want teachers to change”.  Then we can plan to help teachers make these changes.

Asking teachers to collaborate is not helpful in itself – we need a goal for that collaboration.  Just as teachers begin planning a lesson by deciding what they hope students will learn, teacher educators need to begin planning based on what they hope teachers will do differently.

2. What’s needed to achieve the goal?

Even once we have a goal, there’s no simple recipe to achieve it.  Teachers may need new knowledge or skills; they may also need resources, institutional support or an understanding of the value of a new technique.

Teachers are more likely to change if all these supports are in place: they need the support, the knowledge and the motive to change.  But many teachers will already have many of these supports.  We have to tailor our professional development to teachers’ and school’s needs: a teacher with resources, motivation and support may just need a little training to develop their skills in order to change.

One recent unsuccessful professional development programme reached similar conclusions: what was needed for teachers to change was leadership support and teaching resources.

3. Alignment of professional development to goals and needs

Once we know what our goals are and what teachers need, we can design appropriate training and support.  The most effective programmes and education systems align support, training and internal systems towards their goals. This means ensuring that everything points in the same direction: what leaders advocate, what training promotes and what performance management expects.

So teacher educators need to know what they want, identify what support is needed, and make sure the school is aligned around it.

If you’re interested in reading about this subject in a bit more detail have a look at the second section of my paper, Designing Professional Development for Teachers, Plan from Need

In our next post…

We’ll share some ideas about designing learning for teachers.

Missed our last post?

Catch up on last week's professional development blog.