Research methodology thesis
Further analysis also found that teacher autonomy was very strongly associated with positive experiences of professional development, as follows. For all activities reported in the 2004 survey, participants who had more involvement in selecting their own EPD gave significantly higher ratings of the relevance of the provision to their own needs. As Chart 1 shows, the more involvement EPD teachers reported, the more likely they were to give high ratings of the extent to which their needs had been met. In the final year of the pilot, over 40 per cent of the case-study teachers chose to nominate an aspect that was in some way associated with autonomy. This was, in fact, the most frequently commended element of the scheme.
Teachers spoke of how they were given the responsibility and freedom to decide what types of activity would best meet their professional development needs. They placed emphasis on the fact that EPD empowered them to address their personal professional development priorities first, rather than having to prioritise the needs of the department or whole school (although, as stated above, there was overlap). Having that funding there to be able to use and we have a choice in how that money is spent, Ed say that was the strength in it (Teacher, primary, year 3 case-study data). Firstly, case-study teachers relayed that because of dedicated funding and because they were given control over its usage, they were more likely to value the professional development opportunities created. Teachers were aware of the costs involved and because they had chosen activities of personal relevance to them, they spoke of feeling more committed to them. Secondly, freedom of choice meant that the professional development could be individually tailored - teachers were able to link need with provision, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome. This could contrast, for example, with training offered to all school staff, from which teachers may or may not extract some value. Thirdly, a number of interviewees pointed out that greater autonomy had widened the parameters of professional development activity - teachers were given the chance to think more creatively about how they could best address their needs, rather than following more traditional types of professional development. All of the courses were great (Teacher, primary, year 3 case-study data). Innovative approaches to professional research methodology thesis development Ownership - being in control of your own thoughts and your own commitments — it gives you a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction, drive. And it gives you an opportunity to think outside the box and to not feel guilty for exploring and trying things out and looking to different areas to keep your satisfaction and drive going (Teacher, primary, year 3 case-study data). When responses were classified using a coding frame that grouped together similar replies, it was apparent that the focus of EPD for teachers covered a pay someone to write my term paper very wide range of the different aspects of teaching, though the main topics of focus in all three years of the pilot were very similar. These and other commonly reported areas can be seen in Table 17.
Each year, substantially more primary teachers research methodology thesis than secondary teachers described developing literacy teaching skills and preparing to adopt a managerial role as part of their EPD experience.
Areas addressed more by secondary teachers included: preparing pupils for examinations, preparing their own career paths and teaching disengaged pupils. Involvement in professional development activities This section uses the survey data from all three years of the pilot to examine the ways in which participating teachers addressed the areas of focus discussed above. The types of activities undertaken by second and third year teachers in all three years of the pilot were compared. The percentages of teacher survey respondents involved in each of the professional development activities can be seen in Table 18. Relevance of EPD activities and impact on practice For each of the professional development activities in which they had engaged as part of EPD, teacher survey respondents were asked to indicate how relevant that activity had been to their individual needs and to what extent the activity had impacted on their practice. These results give an indication of the types of professional development opportunities most useful to teachers in the early stages of their careers.
The ratings for each activity are shown in Table 19.
There was, however, some variation between activities. Of the specified activities, courses open to all were thought to be most relevant to the individual needs of EPD teachers. Around 85 per cent of teachers rated these at 4 or 5 out of 5 in all three years of the pilot. However, those who did partake in this activity gave it a high relevance rating, with over three-quarters of teacher survey respondents awarding this a 4 or 5 out of 5. There was a significant difference in the perceived relevance of observations between primary and secondary teachers, with primary teachers scoring relevance higher. EPD-specific courses received the lowest level of endorsement for relevance by teachers in 2002 and 2003 and one of the lowest ratings in research methodology thesis 2004. Notwithstanding, by the end of the pilot, overall ratings of these EPD-specific courses had risen more than the ratings for other forms of professional development. In all three years of the pilot, participating teachers rated courses open to all highly in terms of their effect on practice. Three-quarters of teachers who attended these reported an actual change in practice, whereas those that were specifically designed for EPD teachers achieved lower ratings. Such courses, although focusing upon general areas of interest to second and third year teachers, may not necessarily meet the requirements of each attendee.
Therefore, where teachers could select courses themselves, as opposed to attending generic courses for EPD teachers, their choice would more likely reflect their personal professional development needs and values - hence the more positive ratings for effect. Three further possible reasons exist for the discrepancy between EPD-specific courses and those open to all teachers. Firstly, some teachers may have responded to the survey item about EPD-specific courses but actually had briefing meetings about the scheme in mind.