The Foundations of Teaching for Learning programme is for anyone who is teaching, or who would like to teach, in any subject and any context - be it at school, at home or in the workplace. With dynamic lessons taught by established and respected professionals from across the Commonwealth, this eight course programme will see you develop and strengthen your skills in teaching, professionalism, assessment, and more. As you carry on through the programme, you will find yourself strengthening not only your skills, but your connection with colleagues across the globe. A professional development opportunity not to be missed.
This course will emphasise what you can do to act professionally. This includes developing your own philosophy of teaching and making sure that you continue to improve your knowledge and skills. It also considers what it means to be part of a community of professionals, working with others to improve what happens in your school, community and profession.
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What it means to be a professional
This week we will consider what it means to be a teaching professional. We will ask you to think about your own beliefs about teaching and education in light of the expectations that society has for teachers. We will also reflect on the importance of the teacher and the school to the achievement and development of each child. At the end of this week you will have engaged in a personal reflective process to assist you to think about teaching, what is expected of teachers, and what teaching entails. This is something that we will continue to examine and develop in the remaining parts of the course.
Ethics, codes of conduct and standards for teachers
Now that we have started to consider teaching as a profession, we will begin to reflect on professional behaviour and ethics in more detail. We will look at the various means that are used to ensure that agreed professional standards are met. The topics covered are: professional ethics; professional distance; the features and uses of professional standards for teachers; the formal procedures around the accreditation of teacher education courses, teacher registration, certification, appraisal, and performance management; and teacher behaviour and codes of conduct. You'll also be encouraged to reflect upon what happens in your particular school or context and how this compares with these more general expectations for teachers and schools held by society and in various parts of the world.
Legal and administrative responsibilities of a teacher
This week we will consider the roles that statute law, judge-made law and case law play in teaching and schooling. We will examine the concept of duty of care, the care that is owed to students by their teachers and school, and its implications for your professional practice. We will also consider the rights and responsibilities of students, parents, caregivers, and teachers. What is and is not reasonable for parents and students to ask for in relation to schooling? You will be encouraged to reflect upon your professional behaviour as a teacher and to consider how these issues might impact upon current practices in your classroom and in your school. You will also be encouraged to discuss these issues with your principal, colleagues, and other course participants.
Developing a personal philosophy of teaching
Building on the last three weeks, we will now consider the importance of developing a personal philosophy of teaching. We will look at the impact that teaching and schools can have on student learning and development, and on student lives more generally. We will examine research that demonstrates how and why views on the impact of teaching have changed over time, and consider some of the big challenges we face in ensuring that every student has access to quality teaching. We will also examine the concept of socio-economic status and its influence on student achievement. An important issue we will emphasize this week is the need for all teaching strategies and approaches to have a strong evidence base grounded in research. We will utilize effect size research to consider those strategies which have lesser and greater effects on student learning. We encourage you to reflect upon your values, beliefs, and current philosophy of teaching.
Being part of a professional learning community
Professional learning has a powerful role in improving teaching and learning. We will consider its impact by looking at research that demonstrates its influence on teacher quality and student outcomes. This will be complemented with case studies of professional learning communities. Some of the most effective types of professional learning are collaborative forms, which are increasingly being utilized through approaches such as action learning. We will consider these collaborative forms, and also look at the use of cycles of enquiry as a means of enhancing the professional learning of teachers. We will also examine the importance and influence of leadership of teachers’ professional learning. In particular, we will look at the various leadership behaviours, actions, and strategies which have been found to be most effective, including instructional leadership. In completing this week’s work you will be encouraged to reflect upon your own professional learning and the professional learning available to you and your colleagues. You will also consider the benefits that arise from teachers working together to enhance their professional learning in order to address issues or problems in their school.
Continuing to develop as a professional
We will conclude this course by examining the need for a teacher to continue to develop as a professional. It is important for teachers to periodically reflect on their teaching, engage in self-assessment, and set goals for future professional learning and development. We will explore important aspects of professional learning such as personal reflection and collaborative reflection, feedback, and observation tools such as rubrics. We encourage you to consider your own professional development needs and develop a personal professional development plan for the next few years. We will conclude this course by asking you to sum up what you have learnt, what might have changed your thinking and how you might change any aspects of your practice in the future.