SEAQ regards continuous professional learning as an obligation of every practising teacher.
This page will consider:
1. World-wide trends in professional learning for teachers
The Gratten Institute is a public-policy think tank based in Melbourne which has published a number of reports on the state of education in Australia in comparison to other countries. In an opinion piece for The Australian on 23/2/2013 their spokeperson says that "the world's best school systems – in Finland, Ontario, Singapore and Shanghai – focus relentlessly on how to improve what happens in the classroom. That means the creation of a strong culture of teacher education. It means teachers having mentors, getting proper feedback about their work, being required to do research on education in collaboration with other teachers, under an umbrella of sustained professional learning."
It seems that world-wide there is recognition that professional learning requires:
A. The Charter: The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has outlined its approach to professional learning on its website at http://www.aitsl.edu.au/professional-learning/professional-learning.html. There you can read the Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders. One of its stated aims is that: "Teachers take responsibility for, and actively engage in, professional learning in order to build their capacity and that of others". On page 7 there is a statement that SEAQ particularly endorses: "We need to look for professional learning that ...... offers support to change practice through coaching, mentoring and reflection, and also that ... promotes action research and inquiry and develops teachers as researchers."
B. The Standards: AITSL has spent a number of years in discussion with practising teachers to develop its own set of Professional Standards, based around Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement, along with illustrations of practice. http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/OrganisationStandards/Organisation.
In terms of the use of standards for certification, the AITSL site states that "National certification based on the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers is voluntary and will ensure that teachers, in every system and sector, have access to a rigorous and transparent process that recognises Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers and is portable throughout Australia.
Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers has three primary purposes:
C. The Framework: The Institute has also been working closely with key education stakeholders to develop the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework, which outlines the critical factors for creating a performance and development culture in schools, including essential elements that should be present in all Australian schools. http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/static/docs/6%20AIT%20ATPDFAustralian%20Teacher%20Performance%20And%20Development%20Framework%20ONLINE.pdf. The Framework outlines a cycle that invovles:Professional practice and learning ( All teachers are supported in working towards their goals, including through access to high quality professional learning; Evidence used to reflect on and evaluate teacher performance, should come from multiple sources and include as a minimum: data showing impact on student outcomes; information based on direct observation of teaching; and evidence of collaboration with colleagues)
Feedback and review (All teachers receive regular formal and informal feedback on their performance. This includes a formal review against their performance and development goals at least annually, with verbal and written feedback being provided to the teacher).
Reflection and goal setting (All teachers have a set of documented and regularly reviewed goals related to both performance and development, and ways of measuring progress towards them, that are agreed with the principal or delegate)
SEAQ hopes to assist teachers to go through this cycle through the means of our action-learning program. (more later)
3. The Transition from QCT to AITSL requirements in Queensland:
The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers will be used for registration purposes in Queensland from the beginning of 2013. Re-registration will now occur every five years.
From the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) website https://www.qct.edu.au/Standards/index.html :
The Professional Standards are a public statement that describes the professional knowledge, professional practice and professional engagement required of teachers. The Standards also underpin registration decisions at different career junctures. Organised into four career stages, the Standards reflect a continuum of teacher’s developing professional expertise of what they know and are able to do.
For teacher registration purposes in Queensland, the ‘Graduate’ Standards are the benchmark for those completing initial teacher education programs and applying for provisional registration. Teachers progressing to full registration or renewing their full registration must meet the Professional Standards at the ‘Proficient’ level.
For purposes of re-registration, teachers must be able to show, among other things, evidence of continuous professional development.
4. The Continuing Professional Development Framework, https://www.qct.edu.au/PDF/PSU/CPDFrameworkPolicy_AmendedforAustralianStandards.pdf, has been amended (2013)to suit the Australian standards.
In future, Queensland teachers will need to:
Assess their practice against the Australian Professional Standards (perhaps using the self-assessment tool that AITSL will produce this year)
Develop an individual CPD Plan
Undertake professional learning that covers the balance of system, school and individually identified PD; covers a range of types; is aligned to the standards; and fits with the individual CPD Plan
Keep evidence and records of any PD undertaken.