THE IMPACT OF TEACHER'S IN-SERVICE TRAINING: CONTRIBUTIONS TO AN EVALUATION MODEL
, M. Alves2
1Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (PORTUGAL)
2CENFORMA- Centro de Formação de Professores de Montijo e Alcochete (PORTUGAL)
This communication aims to contribute to the debate concerning the impact of the continuing education on the development of teachers’ professional skills and on improvement of their teaching practices. Measuring and understanding the impact of continuing education on the development of teachers’ skills is essential for improving the quality and effectiveness of teaching. The impact of continuing teacher education on their teaching practices, in the school organization, and in improving student learning is not well known in detail in Portugal.
This situation stems essentially from the observation that assessment of the impacts of the continuing education on teachers’ practices is rarely carried out in a systematic way. In fact, the evaluation usually carried out in the Centres for Continuing Teacher Education is almost always based on the evaluation of teachers’ satisfaction concerning training contents and methodologies, trainer’ performance and the functioning of the Centre of Training, without taking into account the training impact on the student´s learning. Therefore, how formal continuing education contributes to improving teacher’s performance and, consequently, to the improvement of student’s learning is not well known and the return of the public investment made in the development of teachers’ skills is not well known as well.
Given the relevance of knowing and understanding the impact of continuing education on the development of teachers 'competences has for improving the quality and effectiveness of teaching, it was considered important to study the evaluation strategies and models for assessing the impact of continuing education on teachers' practices. In this perspective, the study on which this communication is based, was designed with the purpose of contributing to the scientific knowledge of the impact of the continuing education on the development of teachers’ professional skills and on improvement of their teaching practices.
The study, theoretically framed by evaluation training models proposed by Stufflebeam (1971), Kirkpatrick (1978), Guskey (2000) and Killion (2008), aims to contribute to the construction of a reliable, generalizable and feasible evaluation methodology to assess the impacts of the continuing education of teachers. The study has been conducted under the activity of a Continuing Education Center of an Association of Schools and applied to some of their training activities. The used methodology is based on post-positivist paradigm of qualitative research and phenomenological basis (Bogdan & Bilken 1994). The study has began by analyzing existing evaluation models and defining and testing a new model for assessing the impact of continuing teacher education with the purpose to estimate its generalization potential to the professional development programs for teachers of the primary and secondary education in Portugal. In this perspective, it is expected that the results of the study can contribute to the definition of strategies for the evaluation of the impact of the continuing education in the development of professional skills of teachers and in the improvement of their teaching practices, and consequently on the schooling organization and on the students’ learning. Being an ongoing study, the present paper focuses mainly on the analysis of the various models of impact evaluation of the teacher’s continuing education and on the proposed model that is currently being tested.