I have been busy with a new job lately but in my preparation to apply for PhD I have been reading through some articles on building teacher capability and capacity through professional development programs. This topic is of increasing interest to me and I would really like to explore what professional measures do build teacher capability and capacity and what does this actually look like. What defines a capable teacher? What should the capacity of an educator be? These are key questions I want to explore further.
One article I was reading recently is Egbo, B. (PhD), ‘Teacher Capacity Building and Effective Teaching and Learning: a Seamless Connection’, Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Teaching, Learning and Change, Omoku, Rovers State Nigeria, February September 5-8, 2011, IATEL, pp. (not shown). Egbo makes some interesting points on teacher capacity saying:
“…building teacher capacity is not only critical to successful teaching and learning, it should also be the starting point for reconstituting the education system.”
“At its most basic analysis, capacity building has to do with the allocation of, and investment in resources – physical, intellectual or human especially when other intervening variables have failed within a given institutional or social context.”
With that in mind, what do teachers in vest in most? I would venture to say that teachers invest most in physically teaching and in programming and creating resources. So capacity building does take place in the ordinary day-to-day activities of a teacher but what investment in other resources do teachers make? For me, I love to invest intellectually in my own professional development wherever I can and however I can.
“Crucially, for capacity building to be effective, it must respond to the growth and development needs of the individual as well as those of the relevant institutions. For all practical purposes, building teacher capacity is, ultimately, engendering development, growth and excellence within an education system.”
What a statement! The education system as whole is not empowered enough to respond to the growth and development needs of individual educators because of money restrictions and time given to such development. Systems need to be put into place to give teachers the opportunity to respond to their own professional needs.
“In building teacher capacity, the focus should be several but, in particular, the following broad areas: policy, training, and pedagogy, infrastructure development and, teacher welfare and empowerment…”
I’m not sure that these areas are part of the NSW education system as much as it should be to make a difference, driving teacher capacity building but this is what I believe needs to happen. Teachers need to be allocated more release time per annum to do internal and external professional development in identified areas of need, they should be a part of communities of practice within their own school environment, and the greater education system, that develop policies and procedures. Teachers should be given leadership opportunities, whether big or small, to develop their leadership capacity. Empowerment is key, give educators the time, money and opportunities and the results will be capacity building. The project I work on offers teachers so many chances to grow and develop in particular areas but the educators participating and engaging with PLANE are using their time outside of their already very busy schedules to professionally develop and that will restrict the overall results… they need more allowances.
Will continue to explore this topic further…