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How does collaborative Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers of the 5-16 age range affect teaching and learning?

What do we want to know?

Many national and international initiatives depend upon significant advances in teacher learning. For example, the UK government's CPD strategy is aimed at enabling teachers to take more control of their own professional development and it has also given schools much more direct control of the funding for CPD. Teachers and schools need and want to know more about how professional development might help them develop professional knowledge, skills and careers at the same time as enhancing pupil learning.

This review aims to determine whether collaborative CPD for teachers of the 5-16 age range has an impact on teaching and learning, and if it does, how it is realised and manifested.  Collaborative CPD is defined as teachers working together on a sustained basis and/or teachers working with LEA or HEI or other professional colleagues.

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?  

Sustained and collaborative CPD was linked with a positive impact upon teachers' repertoire of teaching and learning strategies, their ability to match these to their students' needs, their self-esteem and confidence, and their commitment to continuing learning and development. There is also evidence that such CPD was linked with a positive impact upon student learning processes, motivation and outcomes.

What are the implications?

Teachers may wish to explore CPD opportunities which involve sustained collaboration, grounded in classroom observation and support.  It is valuable to combine external expertise and peer support.  Policy-makers at all levels may wish to consider reviewing their policies and resource strategies for CPD to explore whether sustained and collaborative CPD might increase its effectiveness.

How did we get these results?

The review synthesised the results of 15 studies published in English that focused on CPD for teaching and learning.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Cordingley P, Bell M, Rundell B, Evans D (2003) The impact of collaborative CPD on classroom 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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