Teachers’ response to a new mandatory professional development process: does it make a difference?

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Baker, Chaseling, Boyd & Shipway in press, 'Teachers' response to a new mandatory professional development process: does it make a difference?, Professional Development in Education.

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A Performance and Development Framework has been introduced by the New South Wales Department of Education, the largest provider of schooling in Australia, during a period of unparalleled reform. Engagement with the Framework is mandatory for all the Department’s teachers, and is linked to improving student outcomes through enhanced teacher professional practice. As an initial study of the efficacy of the Performance and Development Framework, this article reports a study of teachers’ understandings of professional learning arising from the first year of the Framework’s implementation. Five teaching staff from one school were interviewed three times during the school year to elicit insights into their professional development during experience of the new system. Three themes emerged: (1) longer serving teachers and less experienced, early-career teachers view the professional learning differently; (2) all the teachers considered the Performance and Development Framework to be a positive development; (3) although there was an uptake of reflective practice, understanding of critical reflection as linked to professional learning was limited. The study concludes that this mandatory professional development process was generally successful in this context, while there is scope for further enhancement, specifically in relation to guiding content and reflective practice.

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