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Developing teachers their own way: Paired observations for improving the quality of teachers’ literacy practice and professional development experience

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Abstract:

Pairing teachers for classroom observation, support, and information sharing can work well as a tool for guiding their professional development. The approach works best when preceded by organized, formal training in the application of effective instructional practices. Participants can then support each other as they learn how to best make use of the new strategies in the classroom. It is an effective approach for USAID’S Package for Improving Education Quality (PIEQ) and its new teacher professional development model for literacy instruction, which the project has experimented during the past year selected schools in the DRC. The project trained nearly 30,000 teachers in reading pedagogy in 2011 while employing similar methods, including pairing teachers and trainers to create synergy and enhance the quality of their professional development experiences. In its experimental schools, PIEQ’s teacher-led learning discussion forums are supported by facilitators trained in mentoring techniques. These tools have helped guide the teachers during the forums to improve the quality of application of the literacy practices they have been applying in the classroom. Still, can these approaches work on a national scale? What are the prospects for enhancing professional development experiences for teachers in other countries? PIEQ has experimented with the approach in 45 schools with 225 teachers in Grades 1 and 2 using a self-directed, guided learning model. The model follows that which has been adopted by the Ministry of Education with assistance from PIEQ and other international partners. However, the PIEQ model adds an element to enrich the teachers’ learning experience and has thus helpd them to develop greater autonomy. Instead of relying exclusively on school inspectors to support teachers, the PIEQ approach calls on teachers to facilitate and support their own professional development. The results of classroom observations, focus group discussions, and data on the teachers’ evolving knowledge shows that the teachers who participated in the experimentation have indeed been gaining skills and confidence in themselves as teachers and as learners. The paper’s findings demonstrate the power of self-directed learning for improving the frequency and quality of teachers’ participation in their own professional development. Perspectives are offered on the possible linkages between teachers’ professional development practices and improvements in student performance over the course of the teacher learning process, with implications for both policy and practice in other developing countries.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p719143_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hamilton, Mark. "Developing teachers their own way: Paired observations for improving the quality of teachers’ literacy practice and professional development experience" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p719143_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hamilton, M. "Developing teachers their own way: Paired observations for improving the quality of teachers’ literacy practice and professional development experience" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p719143_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: Pairing teachers for classroom observation, support, and information sharing can work well as a tool for guiding their professional development. The approach works best when preceded by organized, formal training in the application of effective instructional practices. Participants can then support each other as they learn how to best make use of the new strategies in the classroom. It is an effective approach for USAID’S Package for Improving Education Quality (PIEQ) and its new teacher professional development model for literacy instruction, which the project has experimented during the past year selected schools in the DRC. The project trained nearly 30,000 teachers in reading pedagogy in 2011 while employing similar methods, including pairing teachers and trainers to create synergy and enhance the quality of their professional development experiences. In its experimental schools, PIEQ’s teacher-led learning discussion forums are supported by facilitators trained in mentoring techniques. These tools have helped guide the teachers during the forums to improve the quality of application of the literacy practices they have been applying in the classroom. Still, can these approaches work on a national scale? What are the prospects for enhancing professional development experiences for teachers in other countries? PIEQ has experimented with the approach in 45 schools with 225 teachers in Grades 1 and 2 using a self-directed, guided learning model. The model follows that which has been adopted by the Ministry of Education with assistance from PIEQ and other international partners. However, the PIEQ model adds an element to enrich the teachers’ learning experience and has thus helpd them to develop greater autonomy. Instead of relying exclusively on school inspectors to support teachers, the PIEQ approach calls on teachers to facilitate and support their own professional development. The results of classroom observations, focus group discussions, and data on the teachers’ evolving knowledge shows that the teachers who participated in the experimentation have indeed been gaining skills and confidence in themselves as teachers and as learners. The paper’s findings demonstrate the power of self-directed learning for improving the frequency and quality of teachers’ participation in their own professional development. Perspectives are offered on the possible linkages between teachers’ professional development practices and improvements in student performance over the course of the teacher learning process, with implications for both policy and practice in other developing countries.


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