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In the current era of knowledge expansion, globalisation, high technology and rapid social transformation, life-long learning is a fundamental tenet of professionalism in teaching, and ‘teacher professionalism' must increase if education is to improve.

The focus of schools should be to upgrade existing standards of teaching and learning. Every teacher should be a continuous learner in order to advance the quality of our education system and the quality of students’ learning.

Research, Learning and Development (RLD) should be integrated with the School Development Plan. This can be achieved by three strands, Continuing Personal and and Professional learning (CPPL), Digital Learning Capacity Building (DLCB) and Ed Talks- Educational talks and discussions.

All staff members must have the responsibility to participate in a school-focused and personal career development plan. All teachers should be reflective practitioners.

Teachers must be encouraged to develop their knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes to enhance their professional work. All staff members should have regular opportunities to discuss their development needs and professional aspirations.

Schools must have an RLD leader, who will have the responsibility for the leadership and management of RLD and who will be a member of the school leadership team. He/she will have access to appropriate support and training in order to fulfil his/her role effectively.

The leader’s main responsibilities should include collating the needs of the school and the staff and keeping up to date with developments locally, nationally and internationally.

Schools as 'learning organisations' for a growth mindset

RLD should be promoted as a central element of performance management and school improvement and details on the range of RLD opportunities must be disseminated to the faculty.

The RLD team must identify the school’s needs through mechanisms such as school self-evaluation, analysis of performance management targets, local/national priorities, internal/external monitoring, informal/formal discussions with individuals and teams.

The school arrangements for RLD must judiciously match resources with the range of aspirations and interests within staff members. The opportunities provided should meet identified individual, school or national development priorities and must be based on good practice to help raise standards of pupils’ achievements.

These opportunities must be be provided by those with the necessary experience, expertise and skills and must be planned systematically making effective use of resources available. The basis of all this will be relevant standards and current research. There must be a robust and effective monitoring and evaluation system. The school must support a wide portfolio of RLD approaches in an effort to match preferred learning styles of learners and to maximise the impact on teaching and leaning within the school.

The ‘teacher-as-asset' model involving the agreement and participation of teachers; recognition of current successful practice must be used as a reference development, and evidence from teachers' class-based research must help to formulate practice rather than a ‘teacher-deficit' model where training is imposed and participating teachers have no influence on the programme.

These activities may include attendance at a course or conference, in-school training using the expertise available within the school, e.g. team teaching, coaching/mentoring, skills in classroom observation, sharing existing expertise school-based work through accessing an external consultant/adviser or relevant expert such as an advanced skills or lead teacher, school visit to observe or participate in good and successful practice, e.g. visit to a school or subject area with similar circumstances, a training school, an exchange or placement, e.g. with another teacher, school, higher education, international exchange and shadowing opportunities to observe experienced colleagues in another setting.

Interview with Dr. Arshad Ahmad - Vice Chancellor, LUMS

Other ways include research opportunities, distance learning, training videos, reflection, opportunities to present a paper, contribute to a training programme, co-ordinate or support a learning forum or network, become involved in local and national networks, job enrichment with a higher level of responsibility, front-lining working in someone else’s job, job sharing, acting roles, job rotation, producing documentation or resources such as a personal development plans, teaching materials, assessment package, ICT or video programme coaching and mentoring, acting as or receiving the support of a critical friend, team building activity, partnerships, e.g. with a colleague, group, subject, phase, activity, team meetings and activities such as joint planning, observation or standardisation, special project working group creating an improved learning environment within the school.

The RLD team should produce an annual report to assess the impact on pupil and school attainment, Improved teaching and learning, increased pupil understanding and enthusiasm, increased staff confidence, increased evidence of reflective practice and recruitment, retention and career progression of staff members.

Followed effectively, schools with a focus on RLD will successfully achieve excellence an environment of trust and professionalism that will ensure innovation and best teaching practices.

The article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Recorder or its owners

Ainee Shehzad

The writer is a valedictorian Commonwealth Scholar with an MA in Education and International Development from UCL, IOE and has a Civil Engineering degree. She is the ex-director of Studies at Karachi Grammar School and ex-Principal at Habib Public School. Currently, she is working as an education consultant.


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Johnny Mar 12, 2023 01:48pm
Pakistan has failed to invest in developing its intellectual capital --- compliments of corrupt leaders and real estate loving Generals! Even countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal are doing more to develop their Intellectual capital!
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