Effective teacher education – the impact of mentor professional learning on Teacher candidate performance

Year: 2016

Author: Clinton, Janet, Anderson, Melody, McLean Davies, Larissa, Smyth, Kerry, Dawson, Georgia, Angelico, Teresa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teaching Academies for Professional Practice (TAPP) is an initiative funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) to enhance initial teacher education. The focus of this paper is one of the two academies awarded to the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia. Known as The Melbourne TAPP, it aims to improve the effectiveness of teacher education programs through collaborative and focused development of an effective, systematic, and structured approach to the assessment of teaching performances. Drawing upon the ‘Model of Knowing’ (Munro) faculty from the university and designated partner schools collaborated to determine effective measures of teacher candidates’ capabilities. A developmental continuum of indicative behaviours was constructed as an evidence-base for observed differentiated practice. There are three phases to the Melbourne TAPP program. Phase 1: School Leaders and Teaching Fellows from select schools (Learning Leaders) participated in four days of Professional Learning at the university. Phase 2: In a train-the-trainer model, the Learning Leaders delivered this professional learning to school staff – particularly for teachers who would mentor teacher candidates in the second half of 2016. Teacher Candidates accessed the same professional learning through their academic program. Phase 3: Learning Leaders and school mentors supported Teacher Candidates during placement to implement approaches advocated through the four-day professional development program. This paper will report on the central element of the program, the provision of professional learning for school learning leaders and mentor teachers prior to undertaking supervision of Teacher Candidates. The presentations will analyse the impact of professional learning approach on in-service teachers and on Teacher Candidates’ perceptions of classroom readiness. Drawing of survey and interview data, this presentation will explore the efficacy of this approach to teacher learning across the career stages, and the implications of school contexts and shared pedagogical and assessment frameworks for teacher education effectiveness.