Continuing to explore professional learning and identity through the use of metaphors,
Sachs, J. (2011) Skilling or Emancipating? Metaphors for Continuing Professional Development. In: Mockler, N. and Sachs, J. eds. Rethinking Educational Practice Through Reflexive Inquiry: Essays in honour of Susan Groundwater-Smith. Springerlink online series. Skilling or Emancipating
p155: CPD for these teachers is about recasting themselves as active learners, and, accordingly, it is transformative in its intent and outcomes. Its remit is not just about a teacher’s classroom practice but rather about social change, where education is a driving force.
p155: A litmus test for CPD for many teachers could include the following questions: Is it useful? Does it my improve practice? Does it improve student learning? Does it extend me intellectually, personally or professionally? Does it question orthodoxies, generate new knowledge or transform practice?
p156: Grundy and Robison (2004) identify three interconnected purposes of CPD: extension, growth and renewal. Extension is through introducing new knowledge or skills to a teacher’s repertoire, growth is by the development of greater levels of expertise and renewal is achieved through transformation and change of knowledge and practice
- CPD as retooling is very much based in a practical view of teaching, in which relevance and immediate application within classrooms is a prime objective…
- However, with its focus on improving instruction it does not allow any consideration of the social and cultural factors which influence the design and delivery of teaching and learning… governments and education bureaucrats prefer this is type of CPD seeing it as an end in itself…
- CPD as retooling can best be described as old style professional development; it is something that is done to teachers, or as Mockler (2001) calls it ‘spray on’ PD.
- Remodelling does not challenge orthodoxies or beliefs, rather it reinforces a practical approach to teaching, where teaching is sometimes seen as a performance and the role of the teacher is to engage/entertain students…
- more concerned with modifying existing practices to ensure that teachers are compliant with government change agendas
- It is very much focussed on the enhancement of teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge.
- One of the shortfalls of these programmes is that they may well remodel teachers’ behaviours but not necessarily change their attitudes and beliefs about teaching.
- this model of CPD reinforces the idea of the teacher as the uncritical consumer of knowledge, and operating at the level of improving specific skills as these relate to immediate classroom practice.
- very much about teacher renewal, with the shift away from development to learning.
- revitalizing connects teachers with other teachers and with the needs of students.
- It demands that teachers are able to engage in reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action (Schön 1987).
- its focus is still on the individual teacher but makes teachers “feel inspired, idealistic—a reminder of what teaching’s all about”.
- The coaching/mentoring model emphasises the importance of the one-to-one relationship between two teachers, which is designed to support CPD. It involves an equitable relationship which allows the two teachers involved to discuss possibilities, beliefs and hopes (Kennedy 2005).
- Another form of CPD as revitalizing is to be found through professional development networks.
- Daley (2000, pp. 40–41) lists a variety of tools which can foster a transformative view of learning including: concept maps, reflective journals, Venn diagrams, analysis of practice exemplars, action learning and creating professional learning communities.
- this kind of CPD is different and requires imagination both on the part of those delivering CPD as well as those who are the recipients of it.
- This type of CDP is transformative in its intent and practice, and will equip teachers individually and collectively to act as shapers, promoters and well-informed critics of reforms (Little 1994, p. 1).
- it is highly political and serves to advocate and support change from a variety of perspectives and approaches.
- it is a transformative view of teacher professionalism which seeks to develop teachers who are creative developers of curriculum and innovative pedagogues (Mockler 2005).
- Given that this is political work, it requires building collaborative partnerships between various stakeholders whose task is to work together, combining their experience, expertise and resources.
- educators must have the courage to ask tough questions and have the skills to find honest answers.
- This approach reflects what Richardson (2003, p. 401) describes as an inquiry approach where teachers determine their individual collective goals, experiment with practices, and engage in open and trusting dialogue about teaching and learning with colleagues and outside facilitators.
- CPD as reimagining positions teachers as researchers of their own and their peers’ practice.
p164: In order to achieve the aspirations of a learning profession, education providers need to ensure that the programmes offered match appropriate professional development provision to particular professional needs (Mujis et al. 2004, p. 295). The important point here is the need for CPD to be differentiated in the same way as learning is differentiated for students.
It requires that teachers are prepared to take risks and not lose their nerve when it comes to justifying positions about education against which they can provide justifiable evidence.
p165: It requires constructive dialogue between teachers, principals and education bureaucrats about what are the priorities for the school and teachers, how to ensure that the needs and interests of students are at the centre of decisions and what kind of activities can ensure an engaged and well-informed teaching profession.
Sachs introduces four metaphors to describe current approaches to continuing professional development: retooling, remodelling, revitalising and reimagining (p156). How do these analyses support your understanding of your own professional learning experiences and practices and those which are evident in your setting?
Retooling: most school-based and peer-collective sessions operate at this level. They work when necessary to transmit some new knowledge.
Remodelling: most InSet days and CPD courses operate ate this level. They provide new ways of thinking about a concept or issue. They transmit new knowledge that we construct for our settings.
Revitalising: an increasing amount of this level of working, particularly in working groups (school, cluster, LA). Potentially some InSet day dialogue works at this level. TeachMeets work at this level in terms of sharing collectively for individual gain.
Reimagining: My SCEL experience was definitely operating at this level. Practitioner enquiry has the potential to operate at this level if understood properly and the learning shared widely.
Return to your journal notes from Task A3 (this phase) and develop further your thoughts around professional identity and development by introducing the ideas introduced by Sach’s use of the four metaphors.