Education Wales 'It's Time to Offer Teachers Career-Long Opportunities' Education Wales Now Is the Time to Offer the Teaching Profession in Wales the Career-Long Opportunities Common in Other Professions That Could Make Wales a Truly Great Place to Teach, Say Professor David Egan and Dr Russell Grigg

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), April 6, 2017 | Go to article overview

Education Wales 'It's Time to Offer Teachers Career-Long Opportunities' Education Wales Now Is the Time to Offer the Teaching Profession in Wales the Career-Long Opportunities Common in Other Professions That Could Make Wales a Truly Great Place to Teach, Say Professor David Egan and Dr Russell Grigg


The three pillars of the Education Reform Programme through which the Welsh Government hopes to transform education in Wales are the new curriculum, the changes to initial teacher education and the career-long professional development of our teachers.

Research on school effectiveness suggests that the quality of teachingis highly important in raising school standards and that this requires teachers to develop their knowledge and skills throughout their careers.

What, therefore, is now needed to develop in Wales a future teaching profession that can build upon the reforms in initial teacher education, deliver the new curriculum and ensure that we have the excellent education system in future? The Wales Journal of Education, our only scholarly and researchbased journal on education in Wales, has recently produced a special number that is intended to throw light on this pressing question. We have brought together contributions from leading academics in the area, drawn upon extensive research literature and begun to capture the views of practitioners who have themselves recently undertaken significant developments in their own professional learning.

The results, we believe, represent a comprehensive evidence base to inform the future of professional learning for teachers in Wales.

We point to three key features that should underpin the future of teacher professional learning in Wales. Firstly, it should be based on an entitlement for teachers that first and foremost enables them to meet their own needs. It shouldn't, therefore, be part of a "top-down" and prescribed approach from government or employers tied to performance management and accountability. Such approaches are more accurately described as "training": they may have their place but they are not true professional development of the type common in other professions. Nor should there be prescription based on mimicking what is in place in other countries.

Learning from what is in place and appears to be effective elsewhere is sensible, but the Welsh education system is unique and what is available to teachers here should reflect that distinctiveness. Effective practice from elsewhere is usually not a good traveller!

Secondly, the best model for informing professional learning is one based on research, inquiry, evaluation and critical reflection. Teachers, like most other professionals, prefer professional learning opportunities that are based in their own schools and classrooms rather than at off-site locations. This enables them to undertake real-life inquiries based on action research techniques, followed by time to reflect on what they have learnt and how they can then embed the learning in their own practice. …

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Education Wales 'It's Time to Offer Teachers Career-Long Opportunities' Education Wales Now Is the Time to Offer the Teaching Profession in Wales the Career-Long Opportunities Common in Other Professions That Could Make Wales a Truly Great Place to Teach, Say Professor David Egan and Dr Russell Grigg
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