The critical redefinition of teacher professionalism is at the center of national and international debate because of its implications for the whole learning-teaching process (Ianes et al., 2019; OECD, 2019). As is well known, Italy lacks a professional definition of the role that summarizes the expected profiles of teachers; in fact, defining the profession's competencies has become one of the central empirical attempts in research (Ianes et al., 2019). From the current national legislation (Legislative Decree 297/1994; Dpr 275/99; DM 797/2016; CCNL 2018) emerges a complex framework based on teaching, organization, and professionalism in a continuous search for the updating of competencies that arises from the confrontation with new educational and contextual challenges. Teachers must take action at individual and contextual levels to acquire these new competencies. The latter level, in particular, shows to have a significant impact on aspects of teaching to achieve those practices required of the teacher, which concern inclusion, innovation, and personalization, and to which the educational offerings today look with particular attention. The relationship between these multiple and interrelated factors is decisive in achieving innovative actions that are effective at different levels for the individual teacher and student and the organizational and school community. This paper has two objectives: on the one hand, to illustrate and define a construct of teacher professionalism that highlights its relevant aspects, reflecting on the relationships between professional practice and the work context; on the other, to show a formative use within school contexts of two tools constructed for this purpose. The idea is that starting from an analysis of teachers' needs and an overview of their professionalism can initiate reflective actions and research-training processes. The investigation of the construct of professionalism took place through constructing a questionnaire called "When I Teach," designed from three primary theoretical sources. The first is underlying the epistemology of Schön's (1993) construct of the reflective professional, referring to teachers. The professionals implement an automatic process in the course of action to deal with the particularity and uniqueness of the different situations they are called upon to face. The second refers to the thinking of Anisimov (1994) regarding the relationship of teachers with struggling pupils and the estimation of the levels of three parameters of teacher professionalism: reflexivity, self-criticism, and contribution to the community understood as the school community. The third source is Schraw and Dennison's (1994) research on knowledge and regulation of cognitive activity during learning adapted to teaching activities. The idea is that the teacher before, during, and after the teaching action reflects and learns. It is, therefore, useful to understand the level of metacognitive awareness about these actions. On the other hand, we capture the work context perceptions by adapting the Management Standard Indicator Tool (MSIT). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (2004) constructed this tool to identify work-related stressors and suggest strategies for organizations and companies to assess and manage them. The MSIT identifies seven work domains, each of which indicates optimal levels to reduce stress levels. The organization can use it to construct interventions to improve workers' conditions (Guidi et al., 2012). The questionnaire is particularly valued because it offers a tool for assessing and effectively combating the issue (Cousins et al., 2004). Its effectiveness involves negotiating between traditional health and safety issues and modern psychosocial work characteristics (Kompier, 2004). The instrument puts the collective focus before the individual focus and shows strength in its diagnostic vocation: it is firmly solution-oriented and proposes a standard to be achieved. In Italy, it has been repurposed by INAIL, which validated it in 2012 (Rondinone et al., 2012); in the research setting, it has been repurposed for the school context (Stanzione, 2021) and used to measure teachers' perceptions of the work context. In the school context, there is a growing need to have tools that can provide objective data to serve as a basis for reflection on teaching action and organizational processes. The research we present involved 319 teachers and six institutions of all grades; we provided them with a report with a standardized template for returning results. In response to the need for evaluation that considers the quality of the work context and professional practice, reporting is a valuable support for reflection and the fielding of targeted training and interventions. The use of questionnaires to evaluate practice, as indeed their creation, is not intended to represent a “exercise in style” but tools for continuous improvement. Therefore, the purpose of the contribution, after showing the tools and the main results obtained in observing the relationship between aspects of professionalism and perceptions of the work context, is to illustrate the reporting prepared and the use schools can make of it from a formative and improvement perspective. Considering evaluation, in a broad sense, as "preeminent in the teaching/learning process" and as "deliberate action that enables critical reflection around educational issues by accompanying the project from needs analysis to reporting" (authors' translation - Notti, 2017), the use of specific measurement tools emerges as a fundamental "companion" to the evaluation process. The proposed tools can provide helpful information for the definition and testing of training models built "ad hoc" from an analysis of teachers' needs, using the data to identify areas for improvement or situations to place special attention. Implementing such a process would make the individual school an active part of the SNV's (national evaluation system) internal process of self-evaluation and improvement, which this year restarts with the second threeyear implementation period.

To take care of teacher professionalism: a formative and reflective use of quantitative assessment tools for practice and work context.

Irene Stanzione;Emanuela Botta
2022

Abstract

The critical redefinition of teacher professionalism is at the center of national and international debate because of its implications for the whole learning-teaching process (Ianes et al., 2019; OECD, 2019). As is well known, Italy lacks a professional definition of the role that summarizes the expected profiles of teachers; in fact, defining the profession's competencies has become one of the central empirical attempts in research (Ianes et al., 2019). From the current national legislation (Legislative Decree 297/1994; Dpr 275/99; DM 797/2016; CCNL 2018) emerges a complex framework based on teaching, organization, and professionalism in a continuous search for the updating of competencies that arises from the confrontation with new educational and contextual challenges. Teachers must take action at individual and contextual levels to acquire these new competencies. The latter level, in particular, shows to have a significant impact on aspects of teaching to achieve those practices required of the teacher, which concern inclusion, innovation, and personalization, and to which the educational offerings today look with particular attention. The relationship between these multiple and interrelated factors is decisive in achieving innovative actions that are effective at different levels for the individual teacher and student and the organizational and school community. This paper has two objectives: on the one hand, to illustrate and define a construct of teacher professionalism that highlights its relevant aspects, reflecting on the relationships between professional practice and the work context; on the other, to show a formative use within school contexts of two tools constructed for this purpose. The idea is that starting from an analysis of teachers' needs and an overview of their professionalism can initiate reflective actions and research-training processes. The investigation of the construct of professionalism took place through constructing a questionnaire called "When I Teach," designed from three primary theoretical sources. The first is underlying the epistemology of Schön's (1993) construct of the reflective professional, referring to teachers. The professionals implement an automatic process in the course of action to deal with the particularity and uniqueness of the different situations they are called upon to face. The second refers to the thinking of Anisimov (1994) regarding the relationship of teachers with struggling pupils and the estimation of the levels of three parameters of teacher professionalism: reflexivity, self-criticism, and contribution to the community understood as the school community. The third source is Schraw and Dennison's (1994) research on knowledge and regulation of cognitive activity during learning adapted to teaching activities. The idea is that the teacher before, during, and after the teaching action reflects and learns. It is, therefore, useful to understand the level of metacognitive awareness about these actions. On the other hand, we capture the work context perceptions by adapting the Management Standard Indicator Tool (MSIT). The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (2004) constructed this tool to identify work-related stressors and suggest strategies for organizations and companies to assess and manage them. The MSIT identifies seven work domains, each of which indicates optimal levels to reduce stress levels. The organization can use it to construct interventions to improve workers' conditions (Guidi et al., 2012). The questionnaire is particularly valued because it offers a tool for assessing and effectively combating the issue (Cousins et al., 2004). Its effectiveness involves negotiating between traditional health and safety issues and modern psychosocial work characteristics (Kompier, 2004). The instrument puts the collective focus before the individual focus and shows strength in its diagnostic vocation: it is firmly solution-oriented and proposes a standard to be achieved. In Italy, it has been repurposed by INAIL, which validated it in 2012 (Rondinone et al., 2012); in the research setting, it has been repurposed for the school context (Stanzione, 2021) and used to measure teachers' perceptions of the work context. In the school context, there is a growing need to have tools that can provide objective data to serve as a basis for reflection on teaching action and organizational processes. The research we present involved 319 teachers and six institutions of all grades; we provided them with a report with a standardized template for returning results. In response to the need for evaluation that considers the quality of the work context and professional practice, reporting is a valuable support for reflection and the fielding of targeted training and interventions. The use of questionnaires to evaluate practice, as indeed their creation, is not intended to represent a “exercise in style” but tools for continuous improvement. Therefore, the purpose of the contribution, after showing the tools and the main results obtained in observing the relationship between aspects of professionalism and perceptions of the work context, is to illustrate the reporting prepared and the use schools can make of it from a formative and improvement perspective. Considering evaluation, in a broad sense, as "preeminent in the teaching/learning process" and as "deliberate action that enables critical reflection around educational issues by accompanying the project from needs analysis to reporting" (authors' translation - Notti, 2017), the use of specific measurement tools emerges as a fundamental "companion" to the evaluation process. The proposed tools can provide helpful information for the definition and testing of training models built "ad hoc" from an analysis of teachers' needs, using the data to identify areas for improvement or situations to place special attention. Implementing such a process would make the individual school an active part of the SNV's (national evaluation system) internal process of self-evaluation and improvement, which this year restarts with the second threeyear implementation period.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1658939
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