Approaches to professional development of teachers in Scotland: pedagogical innovation or financial necessity?

Livingston, K. (2012) Approaches to professional development of teachers in Scotland: pedagogical innovation or financial necessity? Educational Research, 54(2), pp. 161-172. (doi: 10.1080/00131881.2012.680041)

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<b>Background:</b> In a context of significant educational change and financial constraint, this paper explores ways to develop teacher learning. A recent review of teacher education (Teaching Scotland's Future: Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland, Donaldson 2011) coincided with two factors impacting on teaching and learning in Scotland. Firstly, the implementation of a new curriculum entitled ‘Curriculum for Excellence'. This new curriculum is underpinned by a philosophy of active learning, self-evaluation and reflection for all teachers and pupils. The second factor, impacting on teaching and learning, is the cuts being made in education because of financial constraints in the wake of the recession. These cuts include reductions in local authority support staff and opportunities for professional development.<p></p> <b>Sources of evidence:</b> This paper explores effective models of professional development for teachers and draws on principles of learning in the twenty-first century and the premise that what is known about how people learn should be applied to pupil and teacher learning. It also draws on a range of policy documents published in Scotland 2001–11 that impact on curriculum innovation and teacher education.<p></p> <b>Main argument:</b> The implementation of the new curriculum and the review of teacher education both focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning in Scottish schools and both offer opportunities for innovation for teachers and pupils. Both also require radical changes in ways of working for everyone. To implement the new curriculum, teachers have to change the ways they work requiring innovative models of continuing professional development to be designed not only to meet the demand for teacher learning but to make the best use of the limited funds.<p></p> <b>Conclusions:</b> It is argued that the cuts in funding may act as a catalyst for pedagogical change in professional development with increased reliance on school-based professional development. Empirical evidence collected during a research study in Scotland, which analysed feedback about curriculum reform, is used to illustrate both the need for improved professional learning opportunities for teachers and the benefits of facilitated school-based professional development.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Livingston, Professor Kay
Authors: Livingston, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
Journal Name:Educational Research
ISSN (Online):1469-5847
Published Online:13 June 2012

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