Professional Development for Teachers

Professional Development for Teachers

‘What knowledge and skills do we as professionals need to meet the learning needs of our students?’ If teachers can be assisted to answer this question, they are able to take control of their own learning agenda and ensure that the support they receive meets their learning needs.

Timperley (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning, p. xx.

Working with NSI is an empowering and interesting process for teachers, who are able to drive their own professional learning while giving voice to their students and reflecting on their feedback. Teachers learn through the self-reflection, peer collaboration, and action research that characterise the NSI process.

An important aspect of the NSI philosophy is that feedback from each teacher’s Classroom Climate Questionnaire responses is provided only to the teacher concerned. While the teacher is encouraged to share the data with a small group of colleagues for the purpose of collaborative inquiry, the data is not intended to be used for performance evaluation or appraisal but rather for professional learning and development.

Teachers gain professional learning and development in several ways through working with NSI.

Teacher companion booklet

NSI provides each teacher with a comprehensive companion booklet linked to the Classroom Climate Questionnaire. Through this booklet, teachers engage in professional reading about the different aspects of the classroom climate and the influence that these have on student outcomes. The booklet also provides guidance for teachers in interpreting the various graphs and analyses that are used within the NSI survey feedback package, and a structured process for engaging with the data and linking it to action and reflection. This builds teacher capacity in reflective practice and data-driven improvement.

Professional learning groups

Research shows that having teachers collaborate for the purpose of professional learning is a powerful strategy for both professional development and school improvement. NSI recommends that schools set up professional learning groups of no more than 8-10 teachers. Led by an NSI-trained teacher-leader, members of these professional learning groups support, encourage and challenge each other as each teacher reflects on the feedback provided by their own students and plans and implements their own improvement strategy.

Action research process

Action research is known to be a highly effective and empowering form of teacher professional development. Working with NSI engages teachers in action research related to improving the learning environment they create in their classrooms. Teachers are in the driver’s seat as they choose an area of focus, learn more about it, plan a strategy for action, and investigate its impacts on educational outcomes. Each teacher engages in their own action research process, but teachers benefit from discussing and reflecting on these within professional learning groups.

 

We also offer the following more formal professional development sessions. These are hands-on, in-school workshops for teachers, led by an NSI Partnerships facilitator.

Improving the learning environment

This half-day introductory workshop involves all of the teachers at a school. The workshop explores the scales of the Classroom Climate Questionnaire and their importance to a positive learning environment and other related student outcomes. Importantly, during this workshop teachers learn about how interventions can be implemented to improve these malleable aspects of the learning environment.

Understanding, interpreting and using the feedback

This one hour workshop is designed to help teachers understand and interpret the individualised feedback package that they receive after their students have completed the Classroom Climate Questionnaire. The workshop also provides an overview of how the feedback can be used effectively.

Maximising the power of collaborative action research

This half-day workshop is designed to support teachers in using collaborative action research. The workshop provides an understanding of the theoretical foundations of action research and shows how these principles apply in the school setting. Teachers explore how group dynamics and the different stages of the action research process can be used to increase improvement outcomes.

Understanding disabilities and their effect on students

Part of offering an inclusive school climate is ensuring that students with disabilities are supported appropriately. This half-day workshop aims to increase teacher understanding of various disabilities that may be present in their teaching environment. The workshop examines various strategies that can be implemented to assist these at-risk students reach their potential.

Measurable improvements over time

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