October 25, 2019
Part 2 — A CPD model
LAST week’s column distinguished the implications of the terms continuing professional education (CPE) and continuing professional development (CPD) to the meaning of staff development (SD) or further training. We quoted the late Patricia Partington, who was once the director of the UK’s Universities and Colleges Staff Development Agency (UCoSDA) based in Sheffield. “Development” is a more appropriate term since the training of teachers or non-teachers is a process that “promotes professional growth rather than remediation” (Darash and Playko, 1995). The goal of further training, or SD, is to learn more knowledge, more and better skills, better attitude and, therefore, “learning more” is actually a process.
Why further training is development? As further training is a process, the term “development” can better emphasize the “incremental improvement in knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits of staff” (Unesco, 1983.3; Unesco 1987:8 Partington, Patricia). “Continuing,” as the late Partington explained, points to “an institutional process which seeks to modify attitudes, skills and behavior of staff towards improved competence and effectiveness in meeting client needs, their own needs and that of the institution.” Hence, UCoSDA has used CPD — popularly used in Europe (including Australia, Canada and New Zealand). In North America, CPE is more commonly used, which the Philippines, as a former colony of the United States, used for several decades. Republic Act 10912, signed into law on July 21, 2016, “requiring CPD as mandatory, effective March 15, 2017 on renewal of licenses” has made CPD the official terminology. <https:// www.prc.gov.ph /sites/default/files/CPD-FAQs-62918.pdf>
CPD for action research expertise. Higher education academics face various demands with corresponding tasks. One would realize this with the many kinds of titles given to their positions and the roles tied up with these positions. Given an assigned teaching position, an academic has to be an expert in teaching and in discipline. To be such an expert, the academic would have studies in that discipline the academic teaches. Thus, the academic’s second task could be conducting research on higher education pedagogy — teaching approaches, strategies and techniques in the said discipline.
Another aspect of research would be to determine which of these pedagogies are suitable, in what environment, and the purpose and goals of teaching/learning a specific discipline. For this purpose, it is best to go to action research. Action research is the “study of a situation with the view of improving the quality of action within it.
In action research, theories are not validated independently and then applied in practice. They are validated though practice.” (Elliot, 1991 in Elton, 1994). Thus, such an academic would be able to “introduce innovative forms of teaching into their teaching repertoire.” Thus, it is best to encourage more academics to do action research on the teaching of their respective disciplines. Having such advocates would make for easier collaborating with a group for organized research. Albeit new, theories could result from such research collaboration. Say, for instance, given a particular approach and its attendant techniques, what similarities would the results be when such pedagogy is used for subjects under the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics curriculum or for the Humanities and Social Sciences strand, given a validated group of participants? Or should approaches necessarily be different in the sciences from those suitable for the humanities that would bring similar levels of results from the students with similar demographic characteristics? Or would results show significant relationships to certain characteristics and or contexts?
CPD for attendant tasks. CPD should also cover attendant tasks of academics. Besides mentoring students in the aspects or in the teaching and learning of the said discipline an academic in research also, in many cases, assumes responsibility in the administration of research. These would include the management of research funds, facilities, schedules, support staff, contractual terms, proposal writing in seeking funds and reports, intellectual property rights, media relations and performance review communication. (Elton, Lewis. Staff Development in Relation to Research, 1994. p. 74. USDU. UK)
CPD in action research. As has been intimated, CPD could also be directed to improve staff capabilities to enable them to deal effectively with introducing innovative pedagogy. This is best done through action research.”
“Action research is inquiry or research in the context of focused efforts to improve the quality [of teaching of a discipline]. It typically is designed and conducted by practitioners who analyze the data to improve their own practice. Action research can be done by individuals or by teams of colleagues.” <https://gse.gmu.edu › … › Teacher Research › What is Action Research?>.
Action research gives academics a feedback on the success or failure of the kind of teaching, the pedagogy used. Thus, academics can “tailor teaching and learning to their learners and their settings,” and at the same time, “justify the teaching and learning choices they make.” Conducting action research makes academics authorities in their knowledge of teaching and learning; hence, more knowledgeable than people who are far away from their learning and teaching sites — people like textbook writers and school administrators.” <https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/action-research>
CPD experienced-wise. CPD cannot be uniform for all. There are academics, who are just beginning in their teaching careers — they are the inexperienced. A second group are those who have been teaching the past few years — the newly experienced. Then there are those who have been teaching for a great number of years — the experienced experience. These group may like to change careers. They may prefer to be in administration or in roles other than teaching or research in their disciplines. Obviously, individuals have their own preferences of personal and professional development at different stages of their career.
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