Today I started an initial look at the report on the 2009 Teaching And Learning International Survey (TALIS) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey is the first international survey to focus on the working conditions of teachers and the learning environment in schools. Its aim is to help countries to review and develop policies that foster the conditions for effective schooling.
TALIS focuses on lower secondary education teachers and the principals of their schools and seeks to provide policy-relevant data and analysis on the following key aspects of schooling:
• the role and functioning of school leadership;
• how teachers’ work is appraised and the feedback they receive;
• teachers’ professional development and
• teachers’ beliefs and attitudes about teaching and their pedagogical practices.
I raise this report because I also attended the WCED’s roll-out workshop that sought to orientate school managers on the Continuous Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) that is scheduled to be launched soon. The SACE Council approved the CPTD implementation plan in November 2012. According to the SACE website the following timeframe should apply:
- The CPTD system implementation will be phased-in to the educators from January 2014 according to the three identified cohorts - Principals and Deputy-principals, Heads of Department, and PL1 Teachers.
1st Cohort (first CPTD Cycle starts from January 2014 – December 2016 and thereafter every three years)
- The first cohort will combine Principals and Deputy-Principals. This will assist the phasing-in process because the numbers are small as compared to the HoDs and the rest of the teachers. Secondly, having learned from the processes on introducing new initiatives and policies in the system, they should be able to (a) create a culture of on-going development in their schools, (b) be in a strong position to support their educators from an informed position, and (c) manage the implementation of the CPTD system at school level.
2nd Cohort (first CPTD Cycle starts from January 2015 – December 2017 and thereafter every three years)
- The second cohort will be Heads of Departments (HoDs). Again the HoDs will be in a better position to support their staff on the implementation of the CPTD system.
3rd Cohort (first CPTD Cycle starts from January 2016 – December 2018 and thereafter every three years)
- The third cohort will be Post level 1 teachers. Their buy-in into the CPTD system will be enhanced since their seniors would have gone through the process already.
The OECD report is 301 pages long but clearly highlights the critical elements that ensures effective schooling. I will share some of its insights once I’ve read the report in its entirety, but one element is confirmed, i.e. that continuous professional development is a critical element.
The report claims that,
- the more teachers paid for development, the more they took part in;
- payment and satisfaction did not go hand in hand: on the contrary, those who paid for professional development were more likely to want more;
- the principal cause of unfulfilled demand, according to teachers, is the conflict with their work schedule, but they also often cite lack of suitable development opportunities;
- those who participated in the least development were most likely to cite the latter cause and that the most effective types of development, according to teachers, are those in which they participate least – especially programmes leading to qualifications, and to a lesser degree, research activities, and
- the most effective types of development are also those for which teachers are more likely to have had to pay the full or partial cost and devote most time to.
CPTD is going to be an eventful journey across the South African schooling landscape over the next decade. Let us make sure we participate to shape its course.