The topic of teacher professional learning is a top priority for all Agency member countries. International bodies and the European Union have also placed it high on the policy agenda.
The Teacher Professional Learning for Inclusion (TPL4I) project sets out to explore key aspects of this issue. The initial project work aims to identify the essential policy elements needed to prepare all teachers to include all learners. It focuses on all policies to enhance teacher professional learning (TPL). These include initial teacher education, induction, continuing professional development, and teacher educators’ learning.
To make inclusive education a reality, all teachers must be effectively prepared to support all learners to participate in all educational opportunities. Therefore, policy development for teachers’ preparation for inclusion should be an integral part of the policy framework for developing inclusive education systems. A lack of a clear policy for TPL to include all learners is a barrier to implementing the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). Moreover, it means teachers and other educators are unaware of the vision of inclusive education and their role in promoting equity and providing quality education to all.
Within the project, the term teacher professional learning covers initial teacher education and teachers’ continuing professional development, including induction and in-school learning opportunities. The project is concerned with all teachers (i.e. early education teachers, primary teachers, secondary teachers, vocational teachers, adult education teachers and specialists collaborating with classroom or subject teachers, as well as teacher educators) and all learners (i.e. learners who attend a mainstream school, including at-risk learners such as learners of migrant origins, learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, learners with disabilities, non-native language speakers, refugees, etc.).
Participants and target group
The TPL4I project aims to involve all Agency member countries in the process. In particular, the project team will explore national policies on TPL for inclusion using online country information. Feedback on country reports will be requested during the project.
The TPL4I project aims to examine the issue of preparing all teachers to include all learners from a policy perspective. It regards TPL for inclusion as a continuum of professional learning and as an essential part of developing inclusive education systems. The project’s overall goal is to suggest a comprehensive policy framework for TPL for inclusion.
To reach this goal, the project aims to answer the following questions:
- What current policy priorities for TPL can be identified in international and European-level documents and in the research literature?
- What national policy frameworks for TPL are in place in participating Agency member countries and how are these situated within different national contexts (i.e. within ministries, qualifications agencies, professional bodies, etc.)?
- What policy elements/frameworks are needed to prepare all teachers to include all learners?
- What policy priorities for TPL required to prepare all teachers to include all learners need further investigation at European level?
The information from this final question will help to identify potential activities for a further phase of project work.
Project activities and outputs
The TPL4I project involves desk-based tasks. In the project’s first year, it delivered:
- a literature review on international policy for TPL for inclusion and research policy recommendations;
- a policy self-review tool for TPL for inclusion. This developed from the initial mapping grid which was used to gather and categorise countries’ policy information on TPL for inclusion.
In the project’s second year, feedback from member countries will be required to:
- deliver updated country dossiers on TPL for inclusion;
- develop a summary report;
- construct a comprehensive policy framework for preparing teachers to include all learners.
The project will be completed by June 2020.