Building collective teacher efficacy: what works in professional learning?
- Dr Kim Beswick
- Dr Tracy Durksen
Ongoing professional development is a mandated component of school teacher accreditation across Australia. Its purpose is to ensure that teachers keep up-to-date with relevant content, skills and pedagogy and that it supports professional growth (NESA, 2019). Professional development can take many forms including face-to-face and online courses as well as school-based professional learning activities. The actual structure and content of professional development varies widely however, raising questions about what is most effective in learning for teachers and how improvement in the profession is best achieved.
Little or no evidence is currently required from teachers demonstrating that the professional development undertaken has been effective, whether it has improved teacher practice, or had a positive impact on student outcomes. Contemporary research (Hattie, 2018) has described a number of high impact teaching strategies which are deemed to maximise student learning, one of which, collective teacher efficacy (CTE), is held to have an effect size of d=1.57. This impact, the highest in the research, is the equivalent of almost four years worth of growth for students. An argument could therefore be made that all professional development for teachers should aim to build CTE! With the advent of high stakes testing (NAPLAN) over the past 11 years in Australia, much is to be gained by getting a better understanding of the sources of CTE, how best to build it and whether professional learning methods used lead to embedded and sustained change in practice longitudinally. This review will examine the literature from 2009 to 2019 to determine if there is more information about the sources of CTE, whether it can be linked with improved student outcomes and how CTE can be enhanced.