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Optimal management of professional development and training in the education system

Activity type: Consensus Committee
Activity coordinator: Renana Parzanchevsky Amir
Activity period: Active committee - From 2017

One of the important challenges the Ministry of Education administration is concerned with is the continuous improvement of teachers’ and educators’ professional development and training. High quality professional development in the field of education and teaching is vital due to the public’s immense vested interest that those working in the field succeed, and also due to the research results being amassed which demonstrate the strong relationship between teaching quality and student achievement on all measures. This issue received much attention in the 'New Horizon' (Ofek Hadash) and 'Power to the Change' (Oz LaTmura) reforms and it stands, for example, at the heart of the Master Teachers (Morim Movilim) initiative. The development of new, current trends in education such as individualized learning, teachers as knowledge creators, and the increasing number of teacher specializations all signaled the need to reexamine the existing research knowledge in Israel and abroad and to identify areas in which improvement of existing professional development is possible.

The Initiative for Applied Education Research has established a volunteer expert committee headed by Prof. Mario Mikulincer, which will lead a wide-ranging learning process to address the topic of the professional development and training of educators and teachers. The committee was established in response to a request by the Ministry of Education and with the funding and support of Yad Hanadiv. In the course of its work, the committee will assemble and coordinate existing knowledge emerging from research in Israel and around the world, will examine it, learn from the experience of Israeli professionals, and will publish a report summarizing its endeavors, conclusions and recommendations for future policy. The summarizing report is expected to be published in Summer-Autumn 2019.

The committee will map current trends in professional development in Israel and abroad, both in the field of education and in other professional fields as well. The committee will focus on a number of central issues such as prevailing systems of incentives and measures of their success, tools for evaluating professional development, the relationship between personal development and professional development, and training as a type of professional development. Special attention will be given to the unique attributes of the teaching profession and its complexity such as the large number of employees, great diversity in the profession’s different aspects, the need for general professional development alongside subject-matter professional development, and the lack of consensus regarding the qualities of what makes a 'good teacher'.

Within the framework of their mandates, several earlier Initiative committees and activities also addressed the topic of professional development, including 'The Knowledge Base for Teaching Mathematics' (2012) and 'Relations between the Family and the Early Childhood Education System (Kindergarten to Sixth Grade)' (2011), or those which examined specific methods of professional development such as 'How can teachers learn from video-recorded lessons?' (2013). The current expert committee will take advantage of the knowledge acquired in previous activities for the benefit of its comprehensive learning process.

The activity was commissioned by the Ministry of Education and enjoys its support. At the same time, all of the data, conclusions, opinions and recommendations which the expert committee will present within the framework of this activity are those of the expert committee itself for which it takes full responsibility (except where explicitly noted otherwise).

For more details, please contact the activity coordinator, Renana Parzanchevski Amir. via email: renana.education@academy.ac.il