The Early Career Framework
The Early Career Framework (ECF) provides an exceptional opportunity to review your strategy for CPD for those who will mentor Early Career Teachers (ECT). This two-year programme outlines the essential elements that those new to the profession need to have competence in and further develop in order to grow and deepen their skills towards becoming and remaining outstanding professionals.
The ECF is designed to complement the Teachers’ Standards and is clearly set out in eight sections. These are:
- Setting high expectations and communicating a belief in the academic potential of all pupils
- Knowing how pupils learn through a focus on working memory, building on prior knowledge and knowing how to ensure learners retain what they are learning
- Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge
- Plan and teach well-structured lessons
- Adapt teaching methodologies to a deep understanding different pupils’ needs
- Make accurate and productive use of assessment
- Manage behaviour effectively
- Fulfil wider professional responsibilities
Meeting the standards is necessary to become a fully qualified teacher. The role of the mentor or coach in creating the opportunities for ECTs to grow in their role, feel confident to take risks and find solutions when things go wrong is essential. Their role is equally important in helping their mentees to develop a profound understanding of what constitutes high quality pedagogy and deep learning. All of this does not happen by accident.
The Role of the ECT Mentor
The role of the ECT mentor is a critical one and requires that they have the expertise and knowledge in order that they can support and guide their mentees towards excellence and improvement. The task is quite daunting, the standards exacting and the challenge complex. A new academic year following the tumultuous previous 18 months will not make things any easier. Mentors need structured CPD and ongoing opportunities for professional conversations with their peers and other professionals to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and competence to develop others.
Their role is pivotal and complements other CPD activity for the more experienced teacher. The need for the development of professional learning communities that embrace ECT mentors and all other pupil facing leaders and managers who have a responsibility for CPD is essential if the celebration of good and outstanding practice is shared widely providing for the ECT mentor a rich vein of outstanding pedagogy and deep learning across the whole school or college.
Instructional Coaching CPD for ECT Mentors
There needs to be a highly structured framework within which the ECT mentor can build positive relationships with their mentees. They need a range of skills that will allow them to motivate and inspire, create learning opportunities and foster reflection in order that new teachers have the confidence to be creative, innovative and dynamic in their interactions with pupils.
Instructional coaching can be a highly effective way to build that framework from deeply rooted and very strong foundations that will lead to highly influential and positive change. This strategy is not just a tool for those who are new to teaching but it is a very good place to start. We know here at Learning Cultures that coaching is infectious, fosters positive change and leads to deeper learning, much improved pedagogy and as a consequence much more engaged learners who do not have the inclination for anything but a desire to learn.
What are the key principles of Instructional Coaching?
- Instructional coaching is designed to move teachers and schools from professional development to professional learning
- Structured as an interconnected combination of process, pedagogy, practice and content that together support continuous professional learning
- Designed to meet the individual needs of teachers and to reflect their ‘voice’ through one-to-one and small-group support received from the mentor or coach
- Born out of a culture of trust and respect that is non-judgemental allowing the mentee to find their own solutions
- Based on quality standards linked to what is deemed high quality educational outcomes from a range of perspectives
- Based on evidence-based good and best practice across the school in both curricular and cross-curricular contexts
The Future of Professional Development and CPD
Our expert coaching team at Learning Cultures have successfully embedded coaching across many organisations within the education sector. They know the benefits of instructional coaching and how it is a powerful strategy for supporting the development of new and recently qualified teachers as well as being a model for continuing professional development for all staff including leaders, managers, more experienced teachers, Teaching Assistants and support staff.
For many leaders in education the last year has been a time of great change where many teachers have had to work in isolation using technology and ploughing their own furrow of learning experiences for their pupils. The genie is out of the bottle in terms of how they have had to work autonomously and reflect themselves on the quality of their teaching. This leads to an inevitable need to look at the future of performance management and changing the emphasis to a much greater focus on professional development.
We know this is the right way forward and coaching, maybe particularly instructional coaching is the framework that will deliver highly effective change and challenge.