Raising the Bar for Teacher Professional Learning and Development? Or Just Cruel Optimism?


The political schooling emphasis on fixed fiscal input and improved student outcomes constitutes a significant challenge for practitioners who are held accountable for the quality of education provision. Professional learning and development (PLD) is a key policy lever for shifting practice in schools and driving philosophical change. In recent years, there have been moves to increase control of both PLD funding directions (the what) and the nature of the service provision (the who), with providers requiring accreditation. This article provides brief commentary on the history of PLD provision and a consideration of whether moves to regulate providers could be another form of ‘cruel optimism’, a good idea at the time yet in actuality, an obstacle to flourishing.

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The authors thank the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies reviewers for their supportive comments while the article was in production.

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Correspondence to Jennifer Charteris.

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Smardon, D., Charteris, J. Raising the Bar for Teacher Professional Learning and Development? Or Just Cruel Optimism?. NZ J Educ Stud 52, 177–183 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40841-017-0075-2

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  • Professional learning
  • Professional development
  • Education policy