Comments (6)

  1. Great questions Diane – thanks for raising this debate
    I think the issue of difference in focus is important to help us engage meaningfully in the conversations around teacher standards and improving the quality of teaching. The issue for me is to understand that in this is not a ‘binary’ choice – we need to be able to accommodate all aspects of the spectrun. Of course, the fact that there needs to be ongoing, in-depth and contextually appropriate PD for teachers is paramount – but we also then need a set of appropriate indicators to guide us in understanding where we’ve been effective and where to put our efforts in the future.

  2. Kia ora Diane
    Fantastic post! My first inclination is to ask the question ‘what is a better qualified teacher?’ We hear stories of people choosing teaching as a profession because they were not capable of securing other positions.

    Then the other end of the spectrum – a woman who has taken a $40K drop in pay to leave her profession and become a teacher at her local highschool.

    For me in my role – I would take a teacher who is hungry to learn, to adapt, to reflect, to innovate, to take risks any day over a ‘better qualified teacher’. Yes! ongoing professional development is essential but that internal desire of teachers to ‘give it your all’ for EVERY child is what will make a difference.

  3. Diane Mills says:

    You are right Derek, we do need to ‘accommodate all aspects of the spectrum’. But when you state that ongoing in-depth and contextually appropriate PD for teachers is paramount, which it is, we get into a sticky patch I believe. If we were to ask teachers what PD they might require it would most likely be at the ‘knowledge/comprehension’ level of Bloom’s taxonomy – the desire to know how to create a power point, use Google docs for example. An outsider looking in might suggest that teachers need to see the bigger picture, to collaborate, debate, discuss and create something new that fits their particular school/context. Who decides what is beneficial and needed? I guess the e-Maturity framework, once completed will be the ‘objective’ tool in this instance?

  4.' Julie Cowan says:

    To me effective high quality PD for teachers is around teachers being ongoing life-long learners.

    You can have someone who is highly qualified but education is dynamic and if you don’t continue to be involved in professional development (and I mean high quality/high order – not how to use powerpoint) you will be left behind and no longer an effective practitioner.

  5.' Anne Sturgess says:

    Excellent food for thought about 2 related issues, Diane. All of the initiatives and pedagogical concepts you’ve identified are important, and building strong teacher learning around these (and other important concepts and practices) is critical to effective teaching. The question is: Why shouldn’t a sound learning programme for teachers be regarded as a Higher Qualification? Where is the ‘Master Teacher’ recognition for those who continue to learn and are effective classroom teachers? The SCT role does not meet this need.

    For me, the PDL challenge in this discussion is in bringing the various, interrelated, practices and concepts together in a way that 1) shows how to weave them together to create an effective learning environment for all students, and 2) starts from, and values, the teacher’s current knowledge and practice and moves them forward from that point (differentiation + formative practice). I agree that the E-maturity matrix might assist with this and hope there will be robust discussion around whether it is, in fact, an objective tool and whether it’s possible to represent teacher learning and progress using a linear framework (another discussion?)

  6.' Karen Melhuish says:

    Fascinating discussion. We all seem to agree on the importance of professional development – as I’m sure teachers themselves do – but it is the quality of it that is key to bringing together all the threads you talk about in a way that meets needs.

    But defining – and aligning – one’s own needs, and the schools’ needs, based on the students’ needs (!) is a deliberate process that requires great skill. Perhaps a tool like the e-learning planning frameworks will indeed be a support, but to use a tool like this also requires schools to understand how to evaluate, and to understand their own tacit knowledge and articulate the difference between their espoused, and their enacted, practice.

    Maybe we also need to look at the PD needed for those that would facilitate that work with the schools; Timperley et al. (2007) discuss the importance of experts providing effective pedagogical content knowledge, and an outside voice to help challenge embedded beliefs.

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