Designing professional development for experienced teachers in tertiary vocational education
This project has investigated the continuing professional development needs and preferences of experienced tertiary education teachers. The project report offers useful recommendations, guidelines and considerations for those responsibe who are planning PD for experienced teachers.
About the project
Tertiary institutions in New Zealand invest time, money and resources into professional development (PD) for experienced teachers. Yet it is unclear how well this investment meets the needs of those undertaking or arranging PD.
This project identifies how useful PD is perceived to be by experienced teachers in the tertiary vocational education sector in New Zealand and will help the design of PD programmes.
The rationale was to identify from the perspective of experienced teachers what kinds of PD will be useful and could contribute to establish a baseline for:
- Planning PD that is likely to guide organisational change for managers and PD planners/facilitators
- Supporting teachers to provide better services for their learners
- Informing further studies in a field that is underrepresented in the literature.
The project approached 1176 teachers and managers with at least five years’ tertiary teaching experience with an online survey which included closed and open qualitative questions and requested some demographic data. The subject disciplines of teachers spanned the twelve categories listed on the Ako Aotearoa web site, from Agriculture to Sport and Leisure.
The main findings arising out of comments from respondents when asked “If time and money were not an issue, what kind of PD would you choose?” included:
- Develop learning and teaching practices to engage learners
- Attend relevant conferences, workshops or talks
- Spend time with industry or network with teachers or experts in their own field
- Learn skills for their responsibilities as leaders, mentors, managers – through informal and formal learning, including gaining qualifications
- Upgrade their research skills through publication or guidance on supporting research.
Barriers to PD were investigated and included teaching and workload demands, money, relevance of PD and systemic problems such as planning at a variety of levels.
The report overviews the research, its findings and recommendations for managers and those who facilitate and/or plan PD. The intention is for experienced educators to be more engaged and supportive of PD across the spectrum.
The project team sees merit in a future development of the project beyond the initial phase that this report represents.
The key output from the project is the stand-alone document Guidelines for creating professional development programmes for experienced teachers in vocational education. These have been designed for use by:
- Educational developers who design professional development programmes and refresher offerings beyond initial training as tertiary teachers.
- Managers of experienced teachers, especially during appraisal of their performance and when planning the best investment of time and money in PD.
Recommendations for Educational developers include reminders of
- The value of conferences and workshops, and in-house training
- Timing – when to offer PD around common workload demands
- Communicating the availability of PD opportunities of interest to experienced teachers
- To assist staff to identify their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to engage with PD
- Recognition of effort, including PD which leads to something, e.g. “building blocks” towards a longer term objective.
Recommendations for managers of experienced staff include ensuring that the PD
- Is chosen by the staff member
- May involve formal learning, such as higher qualifications
- May include specialist discipline training and upskilling
- Includes sufficient funding and time
- Will be regarded by experienced staff as beneficial to both to the staff and the institution.
The findings were presented at a workshop at the 2016 National Tertiary Learning and Teaching conference , Making Connections – Whanaungatanga held in Rotorua. See page 119 ff. for the proceedings here.
- Gerard Duignan, Wellington Institute of Technology (project leader)
- Scott Casley, Eastern Institute of Technology
- Cath Fraser, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
- Carmel Haggerty, Whitireia NZ
- Malcolm Hardy, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
- John Hitchcock, Wellington Institute of Technology
- Chris Lovegrove, Unitec Institute of Technology
- Sue Sewell, Whitireia NZ
- Lynette Singh, research assistant, Whitireia NZ
- Deb Stewart, Eastern Institute of Technology
- Janet Walke, Universal College of Learning
Project commenced: September 2015
Project completion: September 2016
September 2015 - Project launch
September 2015 - NZ NTLT Conference presentation
October 2015 - Ethics committees approvals
October 2015 - Survey published
November 2015 - Project team meeting - initial data analysis
November 2015 - Survey closed
September 2016 - project report published
Ako Aotearoa $9,355 (excl. GST)
WelTec $9,335 (excl. GST)
This report from this project is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.