Classroom realities are complex. And they have changed and become increasingly complex in recent years.
Keywords in this respect are: cultural and linguistic diversity and their implications of teaching in heterogeneous classrooms; inclusion and attention to disadvantaged groups; curricular renewal following studies such as TIMSS or PISA; as well as digitalization.
The European Commission has therefore called for an increased attention that must be given to high-quality professional development (PD), so that teachers and leaders in education continue to have all the skills and competences they need to deal with changed classroom realities.
PD is in particular necessary for teachers who teach subjects of fundamental importance for pupils’ basic education, such as mathematics and science as delivering high-quality teaching will also help to address underachievement in these subjects. The prioritization of STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teacher PD is therefore more important than ever before.
It is also of uttermost importance that PD for in-service teachers is delivered at the highest quality. Thus, an important criterion is that PD contents and concepts are on the one hand embedded in STEM education research as this offers rich possibilities. On the other hand PD contents and concepts shall be relevant to school practice as well as easily and readily transferrable into teacher practice.
Thus, teacher professional development providers need a clear concept on how such PD has to look like. And, to achieve this, they need to cooperate with schools as well as other PD providers:
- Partnership with schools is important to ensure transferability and relevance.
- Partnership with other PD providers is important to learn from each other, exchange concepts and to improve the quality of each institution’s offer.
This is the mission of STEM PD Net!