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The ECF, teacher expertise and teacher learning

What perspectives on teacher learning are evident in the ECF? In this video Mark Hardman discusses how the ECF might be read.
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The one thing I wanted to know early was how the framework was devised. So the early career framework has been put together as part of the recruitment and retention strategy. It’s aimed at enhancing the recruitment and retention, but also enhancing their career in other ways. So the way that was devised was there was an expert advisory group put together by the Department for Education, which contained a number of people from the education sector. Those recommendations for what should go into the early career framework were mapped to teacher standards. So if you’ve looked at the early career framework itself, it maps to the teacher standards. And then they were linked to evidence.
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So there’s a second part to each of the standards where the evidence that was used is linked to there. So this is an example that I’ve put on the screen for the first standard. So it’s divided into things that teachers should learn. So that’s the kind of knowledge teachers should have and learn how to, which is a procedural knowledge or the skills if you like that they should have. So it’s divided up in those ways against each of the teacher standards. So I think here are some important framing points from our perspective as teacher educators and from the pilot. One thing to note is that we’ve done some work to look at the literature around this.
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And there’s no definitive account of what teachers should do. And that’s unsurprising, because teaching is a very complex activity. There are lots of different nuances to that. So we just want to be clear that the early career framework is positioning it in a particular way, and it’s positioning it in a way devised from these experts within the field. But it isn’t the only way to think about teaching. And that’s an important framing point. It’s designed to work across all phases, subjects, and contexts. And of course by designing the framework that works across all contexts, you also need to think about how that’s going to be contextualised when it goes into a particular phase or subject, or location.
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And also to know that of course that the expert panel put together plenty of evidence to support those statements as to what teachers should do. But there’s a huge amount of research evidence that isn’t represented within the early career framework as well. So from those recognitions about how the early career framework was devised and also how it’s positioned, we would recommend that schools spend some time thinking about what might not be in the early career framework that is important for teachers in your school to understand.
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How you would contextualise that. So how do you bring those statements which are designed to work across all settings into your school and make them relevant. So that’s an important point. The second thing I wanted to say is that the early career framework really presents an opportunity to reconsider the development of all staff through mentoring. And I think this isn’t just the early career teachers, but all staff if you really think about it. This is a good opportunity to do that. There are lots of research papers around mentoring, but Hobson and Marlderez in 2013 found some particular barriers to mentoring quality, which we wanted to mention.
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So mental selection and mental training are both things which aren’t always focused on in schools as much as they could be. And that’s something which occurred within our research, but has been fairly well established. Protecting time for meetings is hugely important for the mentoring process or coaching process to take place, but also protecting time for additional things like observations. And in relation to these early career framework programmes, the preparation is required. So for the mentors to also have time to engage with those materials. There’s also an issue of judgementoring, which we’ll talk about a little bit later.
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And this is just the potential clash between the role of a mentor to assess and to make sure that new teachers are meeting induction, but also to give them mentoring and support. And those two different roles can sometimes be in conflict. So we’ve asked some questions in the guide. How are mentors selected and supported? How can they be afforded a timetable, which is the best possible timetable for support? And how are you going to relate accountability to the development of teachers which of course we’re in favour of? The other point again is a ideological point. The early career framework really in our view presents an opportunity to reconsider staff development.
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And again that’s for all staff driven by this change in early career framework. And our evaluation suggests that this professional development context involves having really clear expectations from leadership about the framework, and also evidence and how it’s engaged with. And in the schools where there was clear leadership on that, they were able to engage in that. Induction leads took time to protect mentors and mentees to support that. So they worked to think about which activities were most productive for mentors and mentees and perhaps, remove them from activities that were less productive. And we’ll talk about that a little bit more in a moment. Staff autonomy is hugely important in professional development as well.
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So although the programmes are fairly sequential in the way they deliver content, still the opportunities for autonomy and for people meeting their own learning goals was really important in our evaluation. And also the early career framework if it’s confined to just the new teachers in the school, then you’re not going to get the message the most potential benefit from the professional development context of this.
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So the last point I wanted to make was around managing workload and well-being and of course that’s hugely important. So when you’re thinking about any policy and innovation. But this is potentially quite a big change. So we found that in the pilot the early career teachers were able to accommodate the work around the early career framework, in the additional time they were given. So the 10% in the first year and potentially 5% in the second year. But the mentors found it much more difficult. Now there have been some policy shifts since then to promise some funding towards mentoring to schools.
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We’ve done a back of the envelope calculation and that probably won’t be enough to provide mentors with all the time they need, to do the major role. So that remains a tension that really despite the defeat making some steps to try and address that. Also we found that mentors and early career teachers they were able to accommodate work that they found meaningful and relevant to their own development, rather than accountability, record keeping, those kind of activities. So that’s just something to think about as well. What’s meaningful in the work they’re doing. So here I wanted to just show this table from research as well.
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Around all the different kinds of support and you can look in the guide to get this in more detail. But early career teachers need listening support, they need emotional support, they benefit from tangible assistance, task appreciation, reality confirmation, emotional challenge, task challenge. There’s lots of research out there. And we’ve put some of it in the guide to help you think about managing workload and well-being.

In this video Mark Hardman discusses some of the perspectives on teacher expertise and learning which are evident in the ECF and poses some questions for school leaders to consider as they move to embed the ECF into their ECT induction provision.

This extract is taken from the launch event of the three practitioner guides that inform this MOOC. The link to the full recording of the launch event is available at the bottom of this page.

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Supporting early career teacher development with the Early Career Framework

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