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Quality at the Grass Roots - Nurturing Professionalism in ECEC Services Mihaela Ionescu, PhD ISSA Program Director G LOBAL P ARTNERSHIP FOR E DUCATION.

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Presentation on theme: "Quality at the Grass Roots - Nurturing Professionalism in ECEC Services Mihaela Ionescu, PhD ISSA Program Director G LOBAL P ARTNERSHIP FOR E DUCATION."— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality at the Grass Roots - Nurturing Professionalism in ECEC Services Mihaela Ionescu, PhD ISSA Program Director G LOBAL P ARTNERSHIP FOR E DUCATION - UNICEF W ORKSHOP I MPROVING THE Q UALITY OF E ARLY C HILDHOOD E DUCATION S ERVICES FOR A LL IN THE CEE/CIS REGION Athens, 4-6 June 2012

2 Everything we do with regards to education depends on what IMAGE we have: ……of the CHILD …. of the TEACHER …..and of the PARENTS.

3 What image of the teachers do we have in mind when thinking of increasing their professionalism? A practitioner who has to apply research- or evidence-based knowledge and practices? A reflective practitioner that questions the practice and individually or collectively seeks ways to give answers to challenging practice-based questions? A researcher that contributes to knowledge creation based on his/her everyday practice/expertise, as a witness of growing uncertainty and diversity in children’s and families’ lives?

4 The Step by Step network has worked for close to 18 years in CEE/CIS, with support from OSF 1994 A project of the Open Society Institute and the Network of Soros Foundations The beliefs and approaches of the program rooted in research and practice 15 Countries 1,248 Teachers Trained Experimental status with the Ministries of Education Present Building on the region’s tradition and capacity, the program grew into a movement and later into a network. A wide range of ECD programs are implemented by 29 member NGOs united under the International Step by Step Association (ISSA) 29 Countries Over 220,000 Teachers Trained Approval and Accreditation from Ministries of Education NGO teams participate in policy development

5 The ISSA Network Today

6 The philosophy introduced by the Step by Step Program is still guiding ISSA’s work Changing the image of the child by making the shift from didactic teacher- centered approach to ECE to a child-centered approach – the competent child and child-driven learning Changing the image of the teachers from passive recipients of new knowledge to active contributors to their professional development – the competent teacher and the critical reflective practitioner Changing the image of the parents from isolated and incompetent actors in their children’s education to key partners and key-stakeholders in ECEC Creating the foundations for a competent system in ECEC, by involving practitioners, experts, civil society, policy makers and academics in dialogue and action towards QUALITY, ACCESS and EQUITY in ECEC.

7 The core of ISSA network’s work in the region Increasing access to ECEC services, promoting equity and improving the quality of education for children from birth to 10 years of age in diverse settings Building capacity, by investing in creating a pool of ECEC experts in the region and in nurturing practitioners’ professionalism; creating networks of support for educators (90% of ISSA members’ programs focuses on teachers’ professional development) – bottom-up approach (more than 30 000 teachers/year in the region benefit from professional development activities provided by ISSA members) Partnering with central and local governments, higher education institutions, parents, and civil society organizations towards a shared understanding of QUALITY in ECEC – the competent system approach

8 QUALITY IS THE MAIN FOCUS!

9 ISSA Pedagogical Standards Developed with the support of OSI, by a group of professionals from the CEE/CIS region with input from key experts from around the world Reflect unique CEE/CIS approaches to socio-cultural pedagogy and fresh approach to education in open societies from transition countries Introduced and used in the region since 2001 Supported by instruments and a system for self-assessment, ongoing mentoring and certification Revised and updated during 2008- 2009 ISSA Pedagogical Standards Developed with the support of OSI, by a group of professionals from the CEE/CIS region with input from key experts from around the world Reflect unique CEE/CIS approaches to socio-cultural pedagogy and fresh approach to education in open societies from transition countries Introduced and used in the region since 2001 Supported by instruments and a system for self-assessment, ongoing mentoring and certification Revised and updated during 2008- 2009 Revised as ISSA Principles for Quality Pedagogy Reflect latest research findings about quality pedagogy Aligned with international trends and policy documents Used for building learning communities, improving teacher practices and providing a framework for teacher professional development policies Framework with instruments to improve quality of child’s well- being and learning, especially for those from vulnerable groups Revised as ISSA Principles for Quality Pedagogy Reflect latest research findings about quality pedagogy Aligned with international trends and policy documents Used for building learning communities, improving teacher practices and providing a framework for teacher professional development policies Framework with instruments to improve quality of child’s well- being and learning, especially for those from vulnerable groups A Bit of History

10 What Inspired the ISSA Principles –ISSA’s previous resources and experience –ECERS (Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale) –NAEYC Early Childhood Programs Standards and Accreditation and Criteria –Well-being and Involvement in Care Settings: A Process Oriented Self- evaluation Instrument – CLASS: Classroom Assessment Scoring System Manual –ACEI Global Guidelines for the Education and Care of Young children in the 21 st Century –The DECET Principles –Latest and most relevant research on ECD –International documents : UNCRC, OECD Starting Strong Reports, and Key Competences for Lifelong Learning – A European Reference Framework

11 Who contributed to the development of ISSA Principles ISSA members: DR. DAWN TANKERSLEY ISSA, Program Specialist AIJA TUNA ISSA, Program Specialist 2010, Program Director 2006–2009 SANJA BRAJKOVIC Open Academy Step by Step, Croatia DR. CORNELIA CINCILEI Programul Educational Pas cu Pas, Moldova SANJA HANDZAR Center for Educational Initiatives Step by Step, Bosnia and Herzegovina TAHMINA RAJABOVA OSI–Assistance Foundation Tajikistan REGINA RIMKIENE Center for Innovative Education, Lithuania REGINA SABALIAUSKIENE Center for Innovative Education, Lithuania ZORICA TRIKIC Centre for Interactive Pedagogy, Serbia DR. TATJANA VONTA Step by Step Developmental Research Center for Educational Initiatives, Slovenia

12 Who contributed to the development of ISSA Principles External experts: DR. JOHN BENNETT Independent Consultant, Former Manager of the OECD Starting Strong Reviews (Paris, France) DR. SUE BREDEKAMP Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition (Washington, D.C., USA) DR. STACIE G. GOFFIN Goffin Strategy Group (Washington, D.C., USA) DR. SHARON LYNN KAGAN Ed.D., Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy, Co-Director of the National Center for Children and Families, Associate Dean for Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University and Professor Adjunct at Yale University’s Child Study Center (USA) SARAH KLAUS M.A., Early Childhood Program, Open Society Foundation (London, U.K.) ANKE VAN KUELEN Bureau MUTANT (Utrecht, the Netherlands), Member of Diversity in Early Childhood Education and Training (DECET) PROF. FERRE LAEVERS Centre for Experiential Education at the University of Leuven (Belgium) STEPHANIE OLMORE National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (Washington, D.C., USA)

13 Who contributed to the development of ISSA Principles External experts: DR. NICO VAN OUDENHOVEN International Child Development Initiatives (ICDI), (Leiden, The Netherlands) PROF. CHRISTINE PASCAL Centre for Research in Early Childhood (Birmingham, U.K.) DR. JAN PEETERS Resource and Training Centre for Child Care, University of Ghent (Ghent, Belgium), Member of DECET DR. ROBERT PIANTA Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, USA) DR. STEFFEN SAIFER Child and Family Program Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (Portland, USA) PROF. IRAM SIRAJ-BLATCHFORD Institute of Education, University of London (London, U.K.) RUTH UHLMANN Independent Consultant (Washington, D.C., USA) DR. MATHIAS URBAN Cass School of Education, University of East London, Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU), Institute of Education, University of London (London, U.K.) DR. AIGLY ZAFEIRAKOU The World Bank (Washington, D.C., USA)

14 What our research says about working with the ISSA Quality Standards Impact of training/professional development focused on quality standards (Study on the Implementation of the ISSA Pedagogical Standards and their Impact on ECDE Policies and Practices in the Region of ISSA’s Network and Beyond, ISSA, 2010) Impact on the quality of individual practice Most effective professional development mechanisms in improving teacher classroom quality were found to be: providing training and guidance on the Standards and how to use them as a self-assessment tool; working with a mentor in the classroom; and participating in a learning community focused on putting Standards into practice.

15 What our research says about working with the ISSA Quality Standards Impact on school and community Increased peer support: creation of peer learning communities and pairing less experienced teachers with more experienced teachers; creation of a culture of mutual support in the school. School leaders created a “culture” of quality: having school directors and principals trained to conduct classroom observations and plan professional development opportunities based on the Quality Standards; the use of Standards to increase quality became embedded in day-to-day school operations. Parents’ exposure to trainings in Quality Standards led to stronger partnerships and advocacy for quality Involving higher education institutions for providing courses on quality improvement by using the same Quality Standards led to the increase of quality practices Creation of networks of schools exchanging experiences in working/discussing on specific issues related to quality improvement proved to contribute significantly to supporting teachers to improve their practices.

16 Study in Slovenia – Teacher Evaluation Using ISSA Standards: A Tool for Professional Development and Quality Improvement (Vonta, 2003) (Educating Children for Democracy - Quality in Early Childhood Education, The Journal of the International Step by Step Association, Number 7, Summer/Fall 2004) The study was conducted in Slovenia addressing the following research questions: 1.How good are the ISSA Standards as a measure of quality? 2.Does the quality of teaching improve for teachers who participate in the certification process? 3.What kind of factors influence the results on ISSA Standards scores? A representative sample of 20 preschool teachers was drawn from all 123 preschool teachers implementing the Step by Step methodology in classrooms for children three- to six-years old during the 2002/2003 school year in Slovenia. What our research says about working with the ISSA Quality Standards

17 In this study in Slovenia, two instruments were used to measure quality: The ISSA Teacher Standards Observation Form (ISSA, 2002) The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) with 37 items (Harms & Clifford, 1980). A key strategy for promoting professional development and quality improvement was the development and implementation of a Quality Improvement Plan. Based on findings from classroom observation, the teacher and Master Teacher Trainer (MTT) jointly developed a plan for improving the quality of teaching. What our research says about working with the ISSA Quality Standards

18 Key Findings from our Research: The ISSA Standards are a valid tool for measuring teacher quality. The ISSA Standards are an effective tool for professional development when combined with constructive feedback, reflective conversation, and active participation of teachers in creating a quality improvement plan (mentoring, coaching and developing learning communities at the level of the center) The breadth of in-service training has a positive effect on the ISSA Standards scores. In-service training that was in tune with the content and methods of the new educational paradigm (provided mostly by Step by Step organizations) resulted in high correlations with scores on the ISSA Standards. What our research says about working with the ISSA Quality Standards

19 How the ISSA Quality Framework supports teachers to increase their professionalism and continuously improve the quality of their practices Operationalizing quality and competences and building shared understanding of the meaning of high quality practice Supporting self-reflection and autonomy in educators, as well as cooperation among educators within learning communities Providing a framework for policy development and dialogue on quality education with children, parents, peers, decision- makers, professionals and the wider society

20 Mechanisms for creating a self-generating and sustainable model of ECD quality assurance and improvement Providing resources and tools to support professional growth : the ISSA Quality Resources Pack Providing trainings, coaching and mentoring – encouraging self-assessment using the ISSA tools, nurturing professional discussions based on the ISSA tools Creating Professional Learning Communities on the level of the kindergarten, with networks of kindergartens, with practitioners nationally/internationally, involving various professionals and parents– foundation for continuous development using the ISSA Quality Resource Pack ISSA itself functioning as a Professional Learning Community

21 What is needed for a sustainable model of quality improvement of teachers’ practices Shared understanding of the concept of quality practices Trust in teachers’ professionalism and build on their individual practice-based competences Nurture teachers’ critical reflection, initiative, and autonomy Strengthen self- assessment and collegial professional dialogue Mechanisms and tools to create a network of support among and for teachers Trainings – classic way of going wider – group approach Mentoring – support and assistance for deeper understanding – individual approach Building Learning Communities – setting the scene for continuous improvement of quality – individual approach supported by peer and group learning Involvement of teachers and principals Involvement of methodologists and inspectors Involvement of parents Involvement of higher education institutions Involvement of policy/decision makers

22 What is in the ISSA Quality Resource Pack 1.ISSA’s Definition of Quality: Competent Educators of 21 st Century – Principles of Quality Pedagogy 2.Putting Knowledge into Practice – A Guidebook for Educators 3.Professional Development Tool for Improving Quality of Practices in Kindergarten/in Primary School 4.An Online Video Library on Quality Pedagogy 5.Instrument for Assessing Quality Practices in ECE Services 6.Online Course for Kindergarten Teachers – Teachers That Make a Difference The resources in ISSA’s Quality Resource Pack have been developed with generous support from the Open Society Foundations.

23 Competent Educators of the 21 st Century: Principles of Quality Peda gogy 7 Focus Areas; 20 Principles; 85 Indicators of Quality

24 Outcomes for Children Outcomes for Children Outcomes for Children Interactions Family and Community Inclusion, Diversity, and the Values of Democracy Professional Development Learning Environment Teaching Strategies Assessment and Planning Focus Areas of Teaching Practice

25 Principles of Quality Pedagogy Trainings – classic way of going wider – group approach Mentoring – support and assistance for deeper understanding – individual approach Building Learning Communities – setting the scene for continuous improvement of quality – individual approach supported by peer and group learning Guidebook: Putting Knowledge into Practice Illustration Illustration of how to incorporate the ISSA Principles into practice, backed up by research. Professional Development Tools Concrete examples of different kinds of actions educators take at different levels of practice for each indicator of quality as a continuum. Online Video Library on Quality Pedagogy Illustrate examples of practice with questions for reflection regarding different indicators that describe quality. Instrument for Assessing Quality Practices Used to rate or assess educators’ practices on a selected group of indicators, for defining what additional professional development is needed to reach quality practice. Online Course for Kindergarten Teachers Interactive 12-module course based on the ISSA Principles. Includes activities for self- reflection and online forums.

26 ISSA principles of quality Putting knowledge into practice Professional development tools Video Library Instr. for Assessing Quality Practices Online Course The Tools Work Together

27 And they are used as a solid ground for: -Inspiring pre-service training institutions -Inspiring the mentoring and supervision system (tools for principals, methodologists and school inspectors) -Inspiring the in-service training institutions/system -Developing policies for teachers’ professional development and for ECD

28 The ISSA Principles are available for downloading in English, Russian and French on the ISSA website: www.issa.nl/qrp.htmlwww.issa.nl/qrp.html The ISSA Principles and the accompanying set of resources are translated in almost all languages in CEE/CIS region and are available by contacting our members in countries:

29 THANK YOU AND WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US AT THE ISSA-DECET CONFERENCE 2012: www.issa-decet2012.com.hr Mihaela Ionescu, Program Director, ISSA mionescu@issa.hu www.issa.nl


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