The Lets Think Forum hosted ACTS professional development is applicable to all assessment tools in ACTS and is presented as teacher-led research with cycles of action and reflection over a number of months based on the use of the ACTS Assessment Tools.
In the original trials, experienced tutors led the professional development within the ACTS project. Undertaken collaboratively, teachers worked in twos and threes, always meeting with a tutor to consider an assessment tool, to practise its use and then meet up afterwards with the tutor to discuss how the tool had been used in their own classrooms. It was found to be a very successful way of introducing the materials and having an effect on teachers’ insights into pupils’ quality of thinking and their approaches to promoting reasoning.
The following materials support tutors leading a group. They include examples of sessions with tutor notes and additional materials besides the ACTS Assessment Tools and ACTS Illustrations which are the main content of the Professional Development. Tutor-led PD.
Where collaborative professional development is not possible or where a teacher might prefer to explore the materials individually at first, there are also materials available to support this approach. Individual, self-study PD
In the Latvian version of ACTS professional development, this is presented as a package that can be integrated into a school’s professional development calendar. The PD is offered as a 24 hour blended course that consists of 16 face-to-face hours in the classroom and 8 hours of independent work. The course is officially approved as a professional development event in Latvia and each participant receives a certificate on completion. LV PD package .
The Finnish version of ACTS professional development is based on Bloom’s taxonomy in supporting as well as assessing the learning to learn skills of the children. The material consists of different options for teacher self-study, studying in pairs or attending a professional development course led by the project members. Furthermore, for students at the University of Turku, there is also a self-study course in Moodle for 3 ECT points. The self-study materials for the university students are similar to the open access materials in Pedanet – PD materials.
The Professional Development materials are based on the trials within the ACTS-project. During the project the teachers developed their pedagogical skills in assessing children’s thinking following a model of action and reflection. In the professional development materials, teachers are encouraged to follow the same steps and work in pairs or small groups. The idea is that teachers first familiarise themselves with the theories behind assessing the thinking, then get familiar with ACTS assessment tools and then test the tools. After testing they should reflect and plan further. It is suggested that the teachers start with one tool and move onto others.
Professional development through the webpages – www.utu.fi/acts – and through Pedanet are supported with step by step models, illustrations and practical examples. In addition to the self-study materials teachers are also offered personal support. There are two options here: by returning assignments through Pedanet and getting feedback (Juli Aerila) or asking for specific workshops for which fees are chargeable. The professional development for trainee teachers is implemented through tutorials which following the same content available in the Pedanet area.