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Sustainability and Capacity Building
There is also now strong evidence about the conditions required for teachers’ professional growth.
Findings from a UK wide study of the state of CPD nationwide (Pedder et al. 2009), which built on a
lager study carried out in the US (Desimone, 2009) recorded six features which increased teachers’
capacity to extend professional learning and also, more importantly, resulted in enhanced students’
learning (see Figure Two, p. 9). In essence the findings showed that the conditions necessary for
teacher learning to be transformative are that development of practice must be context specific and
embedded in a real classroom. Furthermore, development ought to involve a reflective stage where
teachers think deeply about what they are doing and why. The development activity must also be
sustained over an extended period of time, and include some form of collaborative inquiry-based
practice supported by more knowledgeable critical friend.
Sustain development through support and encouragement
The process of change requires hard work, determination and resilience on the part of everybody
involved. Part of the role of the CoE Cambridge and Kazakhstani trainers is to motivate teachers by
adopting a positive approach through encouragement and praise, and, more importantly, by helping to
build teachers’ beliefs that they are good at what they do whilst also holding them to account for
pupils’ learning and attainment. To this end the focus of the CoE programme is centred on making
classroom learning and teaching better for all learners in each classroom. This is achieved though
building on context specific evidence from all staff, parents and students in each school.
It is intended that the goals are realised though establishing a strong, positive and optimistic belief
that all pupils learning can develop that will be achieved through collaborative team work with experts
and novices working together to produce short and long term plans for schools and classrooms.
In summary, the key functions of the CoE programme are to sustain the will of teachers through
providing them with the skill to learn how to learn so that they understood how to bring about change.
When the key players have the necessary skill and knowledge of how to build capacity within the
school system then improvements are more likely to be pervasive and sustained. The CoE
programme started as a Cambridge programme but has now rapidly become a Kazakhstani CoE
Early Evidence of Capacity Building
There are some early signs of capacity building within the system.
i) Kazakhstani Expert assessor team
There is now a team of expert assessors who have completed all three Levels of CoE training and
who have also undertaken additional assessment training carried out by CIE. This team now oversees
the assessment process under the guidance of a support team lead by an original member of the CoE
ii) Growth in the numbers of CoE offices with expert Directors supported by international trainers
There are now 17 centres of excellence throughout Kazakhstan supported by a fully trained team of
teachers and lecturers. These centres are located in Astana, Karaganda, Semey, Oskemen,
Taldykorgan, Almaty, Shymkent, Aktau, Atyrau, Aktobe, Pavlodar, Kokshetau, Taraz, Kyzylorda,
Kostanai, Petropavlovsk and Uralsk. (see Figure Three, p. 14). The Directors of the centres have
completed all three Levels of CoE training and carried out teacher training within their regions. Each 14
centre now has a recently recruited English speaking international trainer working in their team. The
Centres of Excellence will act as hubs for networks of teachers within the regions.
ii) Kazakhstani Expert trainer team
A team of expert trainers who have attended all three Levels of the CoE programme have been
appointed to work as co-trainers with the Cambridge team in the second cycle of Level Three train the
trainers programme in January 2013.
iv) Kazakhstani Expert ‘ambassador’ team
Although there is not an official team of ‘ambassadors’, there are a number of extremely competent,
articulate trainers who occupy senior positions within the Kazakhstani education system who have
completed all three Levels of CoE training and have also either trained or assessed teachers. Indeed,
at the December 2012 Teacher Professional Development: traditions and changes international
conference several CoE trainers presented papers related to their work with the CoE programme.
Action research reports and reflective accounts
The action research projects carried out by trainers during the school-based/on-line period have been
very influential in deepening trainers’ understanding of the process of learning and teaching through
structuring the systematic collection of classroom-based data about implementing change. The
programme’s seven themes were integrated into trainers’ school-based training and teachers’
classroom practice though more strategic medium term planning. This planning process helped
trainers and teachers to structure the integration of all the ideas from the programme into classroom
practice rather than as isolated discrete teaching strategies. The collection of data about the positive
effects of the programme on pupils’ learning and motivation served to reinforce trainers’ and teachers’ 15
determination to continue with the training programme. Whilst the research findings were presented to
peers in the second face-to-face seminars, these useful reports are largely inaccessible to Cambridge
trainers because they were usually written in either Russian or Kazakh.
Introducing innovation and development of practice does not have a direct linear outcome because
there are many contributory mediating factors in place between the initial Cambridge training and
ultimate pupils’ outcomes. Consequently, it is not a straightforward process to monitor outcomes.
However, an ongoing monitoring and evaluation programme is in place to determine the impact of the
CoE programme as it is introduced and developed. The CoE evaluation process will look for evidence
of deep changes taking place which illustrate how teachers’ beliefs about the norms and pedagogical
practices of the classroom have changed. Data will continue to be gathered beyond the Cambridge
training stages to look for evidence of change and sustainability of the programme over time. The
three types of evidence being collected are:
• instrumental evidence: participants feedback, evidence of influencing the development
of practice or altering teachers’ and pupils’ behaviour;
• conceptual change: contributing to the understanding of the participants;
• evidence of capacity building: through technical and sustained personal skill development.
By early 2013 substantial data sets has been collected and this is summarised in Table Two (p. 16).
The next sections will present an analysis of the interim findings of these data.
Challenges facing the process of Reform at Scale
Monitoring and Evaluation
Broadening the definition of scale in the way we have described earlier highlights inherent tensions for
both monitoring and introducing the reform process. The broader conceptualization emphasizes
dimensions of scale that are more challenging to measure because it is more challenging to measure
conceptual change or enacted pedagogical principles than the presence or absence of activities or
materials. It is more challenging to measure the spread of norms of interaction than the number of
teachers or schools involved in such an initiative. It is also arguably more challenging to measure the
shift in authority over and knowledge of reform than reform adoption and sustainability. Evaluation
strategies that capture depth and shift in ownership, most often qualitative, will be more labour
intensive and time consuming than survey and other quantitative methods better suited to capture
However, it is very important to solve these challenges to ensure that we develop research designs
that capture what is important rather than only what is easily measurable. To that end, we will
continue to analyze conceptual changes through the development of appropriate methodological
approaches. We plan to explore creative and cost-effective ways to study schools that have been 16
engaged in reform initiatives for more than a few years.
school leaders can make a difference in school and student performance if they are granted the autonomy to make
important decisions. to do this effectively, they need to be able to adapt teaching programs to local needs, promote
teamwork among teachers, and engage in teacher monitoring, evaluation and professional development. they need
discretion in setting strategic direction and must be able to develop school plans and goals and monitor progress,
using data to improve practice. they also need to be able to influence teacher recruitment to improve the match
between candidates and their school’s needs. Last but not least, leadership preparation and training are central and
building networks of schools to stimulate and spread innovation and to develop diverse curricula, extended services
and professional support can bring substantial benefits.
!! Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills
Starting from the premise that learning to collaborate with others and connecting through technology are
essential skills in a knowledge-based economy, the assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills project
brought together more than 250 researchers across 60 institutions worldwide who categorized 21st-century
skills internationally into four broad categories:
Ways of thinking. Creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning
Ways of working. Communication and collaboration
Tools for working. information and communications technology (iCT) and information literacy
Skills for living in the world. Citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility
The project also outlines the nature of assessment systems that can support changes in practice, illustrates
the use of technology to transform assessment systems and learning, and proposes a model for assessing
21st century skills.
!!! For example, the OECD’s comparative review of innovative learning environments
concludes that, in order to be
most effective, learning environments should:
• make learning central, encourage engagement, and be the place where students come to understand themselves
• ensure that learning is social and often collaborative;
• be highly attuned to students’ motivations and the importance of emotions;
• be acutely sensitive to individual differences, including in prior knowledge;
• be demanding of every student, without overloading students;
• use assessments that emphasize formative feedback; and
• promote connections across activities and subjects, both in and out of school.
Taken together, these principles form a demanding framework on which teachers’ professionalism is based. In addition
to developing such individual skills, teachers also need to be able and have opportunities to work collaboratively with
others in designing learning environments, addressing the learning needs of particular groups of students, developing
themselves professionally, and teaching with others in team approaches. The OECD’s comparative review of innovative
learning environments concludes:
• teachers need to be well-versed in the subjects they teach in order to be adept at using different methods and, if
necessary, changing their approaches to optimize learning. this includes content-specific strategies and methods
to teach specific content.
• they need a rich repertoire of teaching strategies, the ability to combine approaches, and the knowledge of how
and when to use certain methods and strategies.
• the strategies used should include direct, whole-group teaching, guided discovery, group work, and the
facilitation of self-study and individual discovery. they should also include personalized feedback.
• Teachers need to have a deep understanding of how learning happens, in general, and of individual students’
motivations, emotions and lives outside the classroom, in particular.
• teachers need to be able to work in highly collaborative ways, working with other teachers, professionals
and para-professionals within the same organization, or with individuals in other organizations, networks of
professional communities and different partnership arrangements, which may include mentoring teachers.
• teachers need to acquire strong skills in technology and the use of technology as an effective teaching tool, to both
optimize the use of digital resources in their teaching and use information-management systems to track student
• teachers need to develop the capacity to help design, lead, manage and plan learning environments in collaboration
• last but not least, teachers need to reflect on their practices in order to learn from their experience.
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