Professional development that supports change in teachers’ practice, in the context of a new curriculum
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1550
This study explored the most effective methods of supporting teachers to make sustained change to their practice when implementing a new curriculum. The study examined how the revised New Zealand Curriculum is challenging teachers to change, what professional development approaches are being used to support these changes and which of these approaches are leading to sustained changes. A qualitative methodology was employed for this research, focusing on three New Zealand secondary schools. Across the three data collection locations, 180 questionnaires were distributed to teachers, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with four senior leaders and three focus groups were carried out with 15 subject leaders. The major findings from this study indicate that national and school-wide change initiatives are experienced differently by different schools, subject areas and individual teachers. The findings also suggest that evaluation of curriculum implementation journeys tend to focus on the fidelity of implementation, rather than on how the change in curriculum has affected students‟ learning and achievement. The findings imply that leaders who are responsible for leading change in educational organisations need to be aware of the context into which they are implementing the change and the existing individual beliefs, knowledge and skills of all those involved. When developing professional development approaches to support change, the findings show that there is a strong regard for workshops that allow time to share ideas with colleagues, together with coaching and mentoring programmes. However, it is clear that one size does not fit all and a combination of professional development approaches are the most effective at achieving sustained change in teachers‟ beliefs, knowledge, skills and classroom teaching practices.