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The impact of collaborative continuing professional development (CPD) on classroom teaching and learning - Review: How do collaborative and sustained CPD and sustained but not collaborative CPD affect teaching and learning?

What do we want to know?

Our concern as a Review Group is to help inform practical choices made by those who choose continuing professional development (CPD) activities and those who plan them. This review, comparing the impact of collaborative and individually-oriented CPD, builds upon an initial review which only explored the impact of collaborative CPD on teaching and learning.

Who wants to know?

The issue of how best to support teachers in their CPD is of interest to teachers, professional associations and agencies responsible for the quality and provision of teacher training.

What did we find?

  • The studies of individually-oriented CPD offer only weak evidence of its capacity to influence teacher or pupil change.
  • As in the first review, there is evidence that collaborative studies improve pupils' learning and behaviour, and teacher practice, attitudes or beliefs.
  • Key factors in collaborative CPD are:
    • the use of external expertise linked to school-based activity
    • observation
    • reflection and experimentation
    • an emphasis on peer support
    • scope for teacher participants to identify their own CPD focus
    • processes to encourage, extend and structure professional dialogue
    • processes for sustaining the CPD over time to enable teachers to embed the practices in their own classroom settings
    • recognition of individual teachers’ starting points.

What are the implications?

Policy-makers should encourage and/or require providers and facilitators to consider:

  • whether collaboration or structured peer support can be built into development strategies
  • how to encourage and enable schools and/or teachers to develop collaborative opportunities or structured peer support
  • the need for specialist input.

How did we get these results?

The review synthesised the results of three studies published in English that focused on individually-oriented CPD for teaching and learning. A further 14 studies of collaborative CPD were found in addition to those synthesised in the first review, and these were used to update the first review and inform the conclusions of this review.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI-Centre

This report should be cited as: Cordingley P, Bell M, Thomason S, Firth A (2005) The impact of collaborative continuing professional development (CPD) on classroom teaching and learning. Review: How do collaborative and sustained CPD and sustained but not collaborative CPD affect teaching and learning? In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

  
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