Over the past few months I have been thinking very about international schools and professional development for my dissertation. Here’s my thoughts on how professional development can be related to
A strong need exists for international schools to customize professional development (PD) to address transformational teaching. If international school administrators were to deliver similar PD every year, managing these schools would be simple. But the international sector is a dynamic environment. Emerging demands come from advancing technologies which impacts pedagogy (OECD, 2010). Thus teachers need ongoing training to incorporate new technologies into their classroom practice. Another difficulty facing administrators is the transient nature of international teachers (Chandler, 2010; Hayden & Thompson, 2011). Consistent staff turnover (Hayden & Thompson, 2011; Odland & Ruzicka, 2009) makes sustaining school vision practices more challenging. Further complicating PD is the disparate teaching proficiencies of an international staff. Under these circumstances allocating PD resources becomes unpredictable for administrators. Therefore, an international school needs to deliver cost effective PD which is pertinent to all teachers in their school environment.
Building professional learning communities (PLC) (Dufour & Dufour, 2013) is a viable solution to address school innovations, but more research is needed. The PLC model contextualizes workplace teaching practice by using the staff’s collective knowledge. However current PLC research evidence draws mostly from domestic schools in Western countries (Miranda & Damico, 2015; Owen, 2015; Rigelman & Ruben, 2012; Thompson & Goe, 2009; Vescio, Ross & Adams, 2008). Thus, the distinctive characteristics of an international faculty calls to question the literature’s transferability. Also the current written works (DuFour & DuFour, 2013; Lee, Zhang & Yin, 2011; Stoll, Bolam, McMahon, Wallace & Thomas, 2006) seem to assume PLC collaboration is intuitive and developing over lengthy time. Few studies (Ning, Lee & Lee, 2015; Rigelman & Ruben, 2012) have investigated the actual collaboration mechanisms and factors which strengthen each PLC meeting. Less studies (Harnisch, Comstock & Bruce, 2014; Jaipal-Jamani &Figg, 2015) have examined the impact of technological change in schools and PLCs. As such, international schools would benefit by deepening their understanding of PLC conditions needed to serve their ever transforming environment.
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