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Renewal: Key Principles and Best Practices

  

“Renewal allows one to more enthusiastically approach the work of teaching, to feel more efficacious, and, at the same time, to question and reflect upon one’s instruction and beliefs about teaching and learning, and to experiment with new practices” (Richardson, 2006, p. 97).

In the Literature:

Broad and Evans’ (2006) A Review of Literature on Professional Development Content And Delivery Modes For Experienced Teachers for The Ministry of Education of Ontario includes the following key findings:

Professional Development (PD) Practices
  • most definitions of PD refer to both formal and informal learning experiences and processes that lead to deepened understanding and improvement of practice
  • PD practices for experienced teachers are generally viewed as part of the continuum of learning throughout their careers
  • effective professional development:
  • connects teacher and student learning
  • is guided by data
  • is “personalized and responsive to the complex and unique needs and context of the learner” (p. 3)
  • is ongoing and in-depth, requiring active engagement by the professional
  • involves collaboration, shared inquiry and learning from/with peers
    • connecting individual learning with larger initiatives and change processes is viewed as key to sustainability and ongoing support
    • a broad array of PD practices are considered to be effective, including “collaborative learning, peer-assisted learning, teacher researcher, teacher-as-student, independent learning and integrated approaches” (p. 3)
Experienced Teacher Stages and Pathways
  • there is no single career pathway for teachers
  • differentiation of PD practices is vital
  • “motivation for professional learning is linked to relevance, meaning and choice; developing competence and a sense of self-efficacy by directing one’s efforts to meet student needs is key to teachers undertaking professional learning” (p. 3)
  • “many jurisdictions are exploring financial incentives, career ladders, differentiation of role and other forms of recognition to encourage PD with no strong indications that these interventions are achieving desired outcomes” (p. 3)
  • incentives need to be clearly linked with goals, standards and appropriate assessment
Standards
  • The Ontario College of Teachers has created a Professional Learning Framework that identifies opportunities for ongoing professional learning
  • frameworks that address professional learning standards for the education profession, generally include key elements such as:
  • “commitment to student learning;
  • development of professional knowledge and practice;
  • ongoing professional learning;
  • collaborative learning and relationships” (p. 4)
Assessment
  • professional learning or change in practice is rarely evaluated in PD programs
  • research indicates that assessment should be connected to student learning as well as teacher learning; program goals and standards
  • “multiple measures and data sources are required in order to effectively evaluate the complex and multi-faceted nature of successful PD (e.g., observation, portfolios, behavioural measures, assessment data, etc.)” (p. 4)
Ideas for Experienced Teachers to Consider:
Feiman-Nemser (2001) asserts that continuing professional development should help experienced teachers to:
  • “extend and deepen subject matter knowledge for teaching;
  • extend and refine repertoire in curriculum, instruction, and assessment;
  • strengthen skills and dispositions to study and improve teaching;
  • expand responsibilities and develop leadership skills” (p. 1050).
Hanson and Moir (2008) identify four ways that mentoring can contribute to the professional practice of experienced teachers and their school districts by:
  • “broadening teachers’ views of themselves and the teaching profession;
  • deepening teachers’ understanding of teaching and learning;
  • cultivating leadership development;
  • supporting communities of practice” (pp. 455-457).
Ideas for Policy Makers/Organizations to Consider:
The National Staff Development Council (2001) has articulated specific Standards for Staff Development, including Context, Process and Content Standards. These standards identify principles and practices that improve the learning of all students. Visit http://www.nsdc.org/standards/index.cfm for more information.


Broad and Evans (2006) found the following elements of effective professional development (PD) in their review of the literature:
  • PD should be connected with student learning and professional standards
  • participants should be provided with a variety of learning processes and practices within a framework
  • professional growth and attainment of program goals should be assessed
  • reflection and forward planning should be incorporated into the PD process
Professional Development design should:
  • be integrated
  • focus on student and teacher learning
  • connect with the larger system
  • incorporate a range of job-embedded learning activities
  • consist of research-based knowledge and practice
  • be supported by the provision of time, resources and appropriate structures
Richardson (2006a) identifies factors that influence teacher renewal:
  • “organized educational processes (induction programs, professional development);
  • personal efforts and events (e.g., sabbaticals, leaves);
  • organization and administration (principal leadership, teacher autonomy, school resources);
  • other changes (e.g., curriculum, physical changes in the school, etc.)” (p. 83)


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Teacher Induction, Mentoring and Renewal Conference Highlights: Renewal

As many districts and universities engage in applying these key principles and identified best practices in professional development and renewal, they experience a variety of successes and challenges from which others can learn. Links to Conference Highlights focused on teacher renewal are provided here, leading to academic papers, PowerPoint slideshows and/or videos of conference sessions. We hope that these rich resources will promote reflection and discussion of issues related to professional development, co-learning, and teacher renewal.

 

Keynote: TEACHER RENEWAL: DIFFERENT APPROACHES FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES

Virginia Richardson is a professor at the University of Michigan. Virginia is a leading expert on teacher beliefs, teacher change, and staff development. She has recently been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

In this keynote address, Professor Richardson examines what it means to renew oneself in subject-matter knowledge, in goals and values, in re-connecting with students, and in leadership. Each of these is different and may require different forms of professional development.

Mentoring for Mentors: Model Demonstration Boards
Wendy Whitehead, Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board and Kendall Olsen, Rainy River District School Board

Representatives from two Ontario District School Boards present their experiences and findings resulting from participation in the Ministry of Education of Ontario’s pilot Mentoring Demonstration Project.


System Change: Miracles in Progress
Carol Rolheiser, OISE
 
Dr. Rolheiser presents an interactive exploration of a District case study, including features such as defining, implementing and evaluating system change, shared leadership and comprehensive professional development, and lessons learned to support professional renewal and literacy capacity-building across Ontario.

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OISE’s School University Partnership Projects: Renewal

“School/University Partnerships: Research Into Practice is a unique research and practice initiative in OISE’s Initial Teacher Education program…focused on enhancing learning experiences and strengthening relationships between OISE’s field partners and the university….Projects…demonstrate the value of creating communities of inquiry and practice within teacher education. There is increased opportunity for teacher candidates to experience coherence in their programs; new and experienced teachers can learn from and with one another; and, university- and school-based educators can work and learn together to design rich learning environments that benefit all learners” (Rolheiser, 2008, pp. 2-3).
Moss, J. (2008). A partnership of reflective practitioners
       engages in Japanese lesson study for the enhancement of
       mathematics teaching. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.),
       School/university partnerships: Enriching and extending
       partnerships (pp. 13-17). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher
       Education Program.
Objectives:
  • Teacher development: To assess the effectiveness of lesson study as a support for teachers in gaining a deeper understanding of the mathematics topics in the elementary school curriculum, and to extend the school practice of Japanese lesson study to include specialty teachers
  • Masters student development: To develop and assess the effectiveness of new models for incorporating Japanese lesson study in courses for teacher candidates
  • Outreach: To experiment with finding effective ways of collaborating with district school boards in the use of Japanese lesson study.
Botelho, M.J., & Gibson-Gates, C. (2008). Posing questions
       together: Critical collaborative inquiry in initial teacher
       education. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.), School/university
       partnerships: Enriching and extending partnerships (pp.
       18-23). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education
       Program.
Objectives:
  • To strengthen the critical inquiry practices of teachers working in the elementary Midtown cohort
  • To create a space to foster dialogue among Midtown teacher graduates, current teacher candidates, and associate teachers
  • To explore the possibilities and challenges of critical collaborative inquiry between teacher candidates and associate teachers
Inwood, H., & Stewart Rose, L. (2007). Advising the Arts:
      Strengthening Arts-Based Learning. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.),
      School/university partnerships: Transformation of teacher
      education (pp. 3-5). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher
      Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To build new partnerships and foster the sharing of expertise between OISE arts instructors and associate teachers in elementary schools
  • To expand the range of arts education learning opportunities for our teacher candidates by collaborating with our associate teachers to build an arts focus
Scott, K., & Root, J. (2007). Building teacher capacity to
       respond to child abuse. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.),
       School/university partnerships: Transformation of teacher
       education (pp. 15-17). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher
       Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To gain a better understanding of the learning needs of teachers around issues of child abuse and child abuse prevention in schools
  • To create four short professional development workshops for teachers that would enhance their ability to recognize and respond to child abuse and neglect
  • To offer workshops to teachers and gather feedback on their impact
  • To consider results of this project for improving initial teacher education
Kitchen, J., Smyth, E., Thompson, S., & Lemoire, J. (2007).
       Promoting equity, diversity and social justice school-wide.
       In C. Rolheiser (Ed.), School/university partnerships:
       Transformation of teacher education (pp. 18-20). Toronto,
       ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To heighten awareness of equity issues and develop social justice teaching skills through introductory workshops
  • To critically analyze classroom and school environments using research-based approaches to equity, diversity, and social justice
  • To foster collaboration between teachers and teacher candidates in developing curriculum and instruction informed by a heightened awareness of equity, diversity, and social justice
Ballagh, P., & Sheppard, K. (2004). Understanding today’s
       students: Tribes project. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.),
       School/university partnerships: Research into practice
       (pp. 5-6). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education
       Program.
Objectives:
  • To train participants in Tribes/co-operative learning strategies, which impact students’ social skills and academic learning
  • To co-train associate teachers and teacher candidates to determine if practice teaching is enhanced by a common professional development experience and common language

Ballagh, P., & Sheppard, K. (2005). The Tribes project (year
       2). In C. Rolheiser (Ed.), School/university partnerships:
       Innovations in teaching and learning (pp. 25-26). Toronto,
       ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education Program.

Objectives:
  • To train participants in Tribes/co-operative learning strategies, which impact students’ social skills and academic learning
  • To co-train associate teachers and teacher candidates to determine if practice teaching is enhanced by a common professional development experience and common language
Sheppard, K. (2006). The Tribes project—year 3: Building a
       total learning community. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.),
       School/university partnerships: Creative connections (pp.
       12-14). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education
       Program.
Objectives:
  • To train participants in selected Tribes/co-operative learning strategies which impact student motivation and learning, particularly for applied courses
  • To create a two-day refresher training session for partner schools that shifts from building capacity to sustaining implementation of Tribes/co-operative learning strategies
  • To provide a co-training opportunity for associate teachers and teacher candidates that deepens the practicum experience
Eldridge, J., & Bennett, B. (2004). Instructional Intelligence. In
       C. Rolheiser (Ed.), School/university partnerships:
       Research into practice (pp. 9-10). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT
       Teacher Education Program.
Objectives:
  • Determine the impact of school/university partnerships on pre-service and in-service teachers
  • Explore how pre-service and in-service teachers can develop learning communities in order to become more “instructionally intelligent”
Lemieux, L., & Mazurek, J. (2005). Enhancing student learning
       in mathematics through the teaching/learning cycle. In C.
       Rolheiser (Ed.), School/university partnerships:
       Innovations in teaching and learning (pp. 17-18). Toronto,
       ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To promote a supportive practicum experience for teacher candidates by fostering close working relationships with our school board partners
  • To support a small group of associate teachers in investigating the use of a research-based instructional design model to plan and teach sequences of lessons based on the Ontario elementary mathematics curriculum
Swartz, L. (2005). Inspecting class talk. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.),
       School/university partnerships: Innovations in teaching
       and learning (pp. 7-8). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher
       Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To introduce and promote strategies that can be used to incorporate talk as a response to literature in a variety of curriculum areas
  • To have teacher candidates and associate teachers consider criteria for analyzing and assessing student talk
  • To promote an understanding of program organization issues as teacher candidates and associate teachers have students work in pairs, small groups, and in whole class contexts
Pelletier, J., Morley, E., & Reeve, R. (2005). Improving reading
       comprehension. In C. Rolheiser (Ed.), School/university
       partnerships: Innovations in teaching and learning (pp.
       9-10). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT Teacher Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To carry out collaborative school-wide research and instructional improvement innovation that had reading comprehension as its focus in the Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at OISE/UT
  • To define and assess reading comprehension at each grade and implement teaching interventions developed by teachers and their initial teacher education interns to improve reading comprehension in JK-Grade 6 students
Soren, B.J. (2005). Growing community in arts education:
        From teacher education to the classroom. In C. Rolheiser
        (Ed.), School/university partnerships: Innovations in
        teaching and learning (pp. 29-30). Toronto, ON: OISE/UT
        Teacher Education Program.
Objectives:
  • To investigate how to build and sustain arts education in both elementary and secondary teacher education programs at a time of limited human and financial resources for arts education
  • To provide “best practice” case studies on how classroom teachers who have been through pre-service, in-service, and/or graduate work at OISE/UT have sustained their learnings about arts and are now giving back to teacher candidates

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