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Schools take steps to strengthen teachers’ professional learning

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 The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) Professional Development program, in partnership with Cognition Education NZ (SI), has completed monitoring activity for more than 500 schools in 2022 and 2023.

The program includes follow-up with schools, to monitor the progress teachers had made in the classrooms after receiving their training.

In July this year, a sample of schools from the 2022 group was involved in monitoring activity.

The PD program aims to help strengthen understanding and teaching of the school curriculum and the use of effective teaching practices, to help school leaders (principals/head teachers and subject teachers) and teachers improve lesson planning, collaboration among teachers, to support more learner-centred lessons and to regularly do classroom-based assessments of children’s learning.

Monitoring activities looked at how well this is happening at these schools.

Most schools that participated in the PD program have started to introduce new teaching approaches as a result of the training teachers had attended. Some schools have been able to build PD activities successfully and embed these new approaches into their school systems and habits.

Improvement relies on the small, regular steps school leaders and teachers take each day to work together, learn together and support each other’s professional learning.

In July, officers from MEHRD and Education Authorities joined PD facilitators to visit around 90 schools across most provinces.

During these visits, teams interviewed school leaders, teachers and students. They also involved them in group activities to help identify the impact of the PD program.

In total, the PD teams interviewed and surveyed over 400 school leaders, 900 teachers and over 2000 students to find out what was happening in classrooms.

It was found that over half of the schools have been able to implement activities that contributed to positive changes in teaching and learning and reported good progress since the first PD workshop was conducted.

Working together, teachers and school leaders have shown confidence in trying new approaches and looking for ways to improve their teaching and students learning.

School leadership and team work are critical to all aspects of teaching, learning and school life. This includes having an effective leadership team who work together to support the whole school’s improvement.

“I learnt that collaboration and teamwork and commitment give great improvement in terms of PD implementation” – one teacher commented.

Initial findings from data gathered, show around 70% of schools are using lesson observations to support teachers, and that most teachers value the feedback that they receive from their school leaders or colleagues.

Lesson planning in most schools is now more closely aligned to the curriculum content. Most teachers are beginning to meet more often in small groups to share ideas and support each other’s teaching.

Over 70% of students stated that their teachers usually provide interesting lessons and know when they need extra help. Nearly 90% of students said they feel safe at school and are learning well.

The monitoring findings show that many schools have made a good start to implementing PD content. Further support and work are needed to embed and sustain this progress.

The PD program continues in 2023, adding over 300 schools to PD workshops and training.

Monitoring progress of these schools continues to be an important part of the PD program, to help identify areas of progress, review some training approaches and identify where further support for teachers and school leaders may be required.

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