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Fostering Teachers’ Lifelong Learning through Professional Growth Plans A Cautious Recommendation for Policy Dr. Tara J. Fenwick Dept. of Educational Policy.

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Presentation on theme: "Fostering Teachers’ Lifelong Learning through Professional Growth Plans A Cautious Recommendation for Policy Dr. Tara J. Fenwick Dept. of Educational Policy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fostering Teachers’ Lifelong Learning through Professional Growth Plans A Cautious Recommendation for Policy Dr. Tara J. Fenwick Dept. of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta

2 Alberta Policy Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation (Alberta Learning, 1998) all Alberta teachers create and maintain a “teacher professional growth plan” reviewed annually by a supervisor contains at least three goals for growth designed and written by the teacher at the beginning of each school year

3 Alberta Policy Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation (Alberta Learning, 1998) Year-end review written by teacher and shared with supervisor (principal) TPGP is owned by teacher, may not be shared with anyone without the teacher’s initiation and permission TPGP may not be used for purposes of teacher evaluation

4 Study Methods Interviews with teachers (11), and administrators (4) in three schools (EL, JH, SH)  Experiences starting and maintaining TPGPs  Changes in own learning, teaching since TPGPs  Challenges and benefits  Most valuable supports and resources Interviews with Superintendents (5) in five districts and Teachers’ Assoc. Reps (2) Approaches to implementation Benefits and concerns of growth plans Most effective approaches and useful resources to support teachers’ learning through TPGPs

5 Benefits of TPGPs: Teacher and Principal Perceptions More authentic, collegial supervisory relations Greater teacher commitment and personal accountability in learning Increased teacher focus in professional development Some increase in teacher collaboration Teachers’ self-affirmation

6 Benefits of TPGPs: Superintendent Perceptions  Increased ability to influence direction of teachers’ learning (encouraging alignment of teacher goals with district goals)  Increased opportunity to target PD resources to meet specific teacher-defined needs  More planning ahead, outcomes-base in teachers’ learning  Greater staff commitment to ongoing, continuous learning  Increased collaboration within and across schools

7 Issues and Concerns of TPGPs: Teachers and Principals Potential rigidity, linearity of planned learning Sharing TPGP: blocking trust and risk-taking Time and resources required What are appropriate goals? When should supervisor steer the goal-making?

8 Issues and Concerns: Superintendents  Can teachers see what they need to improve?  What about marginal teachers? (weakening supervisor authority?)  Diligent maintenance of the documents

9 Most Effective Approaches for Introducing and Supporting TPGPs to Foster Teacher Learning Support Commitment Flexibility Patience Collaboration Balance financial, informational, cultural, relational - district and school levels talk it up, celebrate, model focus less on the rule, more on the process build teacher trust and risk-taking over time make time for small groups teachers’ self-direction with external guidance

10 Resources that Best Support Teachers’ Learning through TPGPs  Training and ongoing information for administrators  Dollars for PD activities  Chart goal themes, link to PD fund allocation  Dedicated time – one-on-ones, group meetings  Full time district PD person

11 Tensions Empowerment and Surveillance Personal Goals and School/district Goals Accountability and Learning Process

12 Teaching Quality Standards Alberta Ministerial Order, June 1997 a) Apply appropriate pedagogy. b) Understand the legislated moral and ethical frameworks. c) Understand the subject disciplines. d) Use many approaches to teaching and learning. e) Engage in a range of planned activities. f) Create and maintain learning environments. g) Develop meaningful learning activities. h) Apply a variety of technologies. i) Gather and use information about students’ learning. j) Establish and maintain partnerships. k) Demonstrate career-long learning.


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