The paper “ Professional Development Plan in NSW Government Schools” is a meaningful variant of a business plan on education. New South Wales (NSW) government schools are known for their excellence in education and enroll both national and international students every year. These schools offer international students an opportunity to study alongside domestic students in a safe, friendly, and multicultural environment. The schools impart education in science, languages, visual and performing arts and design through university-trained professional teachers. The schools are known for providing all students environment that hones their learning skills, encourages them to develop independent thinking, and interacts positively with the community.
The schools believe that in order to turn their students into capable people fit for entering university and thereafter into excellent jobs high-quality education is a must. But over a period of time, it has been seen that there is a disparity in performance and a passive achievement gap between local and international students, and even among local students. To increase the overall student achievement, the schools believe that the most effective tool they have is its teaching staff, who can further be groomed through effective professional development (Hadar & Brody, 2010a). Professional development is seen as a means to increase their capabilities for collaboration and teaming, apart from improving their job-specific domain knowledge. As such the need is being felt that adult learning both at the organizational and the operational level must be embedded in the structures developed at the central office.
This thought is being deliberated upon because it is felt that the teachers have an important role to play in the overall development of the pupil. Effective learning the pupil deserves stems primarily from how learned the teachers get. In order to meet this expectation the professional development plan for the NSW schools sets two goals: Impart education in such a manner that every student's achievement level is increased. Reduce or completely close the performance gap between local and international students. To achieve these goals, this professional development plan identified certain areas that need focus.
These are: Increase the rigor in curriculum and instruction Align students' academic standards with instruction and curriculum Use a professional development plan to develop a teacher corps which is high-performing The professional development plan, thus, stresses the need for a curriculum audit.
The need for such an audit also arises in the wake of the fact that the Australian National Curriculum, which was adopted in 2012 after being on trial for many years, raises the expectations of all the stakeholders from Australian education -- students, teachers, and parents. This is also to keep pace with the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) ranking of 2006 which has ranked the education system here as thirteenth for mathematics, eighth for science, and sixth for reading.
The ranking is among assessments done in 56 countries (Shepherd, 2010). The main aim of the professional development plan would be to increase student achievement, which will be accomplished by increasing the skills of teachers and even support personnel and administrators. All of them will be responsible for the curriculum's effective delivery according to the long-term and comprehensive nature of the professional development plan. The plan has to be coordinated and focused. As of now, there is a general consensus between various stakeholders that clear policies and direction are lacking in professional development and there is not the desired amount of inter-level connectivity in the same.
To meet the challenges of the plans and lead it to fruition a Work Group will be formed, which will decide the number of years this comprehensive plan will be formulated. The ideal length could be three years; each year and step coordinated by the territory and other resources.
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