After a brief interval, the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland is taking the stage once more as STEP – Scottish Teachers for Enhancing Practice.
In a typical three act drama, ACT 1 establishes main characters, and sets the scene for what follows. Soon, an incident occurs that presents the main characters with a life-changing situation which they must solve. As the first act ends, the audience must ask questions – how will the main characters resolve the situation? What will the changes mean for all the characters? Will it all end happily?
ACT 2 usually portrays the main characters’ attempts to resolve the problem. Sometimes further problems beset them on the way. They must adapt to the changed circumstances that have threatened to undermine them, often learning new skills and finding strengths of which they were previously unaware. They seek allies and grow in their self-knowledge and resilience.
The third act features the resolution of the drama. The main difficulties of recent events are concluded and the questions raised in the first act are answered. The main characters arrive at the finale, looking to the future with a new sense of who they are and what their strengths might be.
The parallels in ACTS’ recent journey need not be laboured. After their launch and widely acknowledged subsequent accomplishments, Chartered Teachers in ACTS 1 felt the calamitous “Report of the Review of Teacher Employment in Scotland” to be an undeserved blow. How could they continue? How could their undoubted strengths be preserved and developed?
Happily, through ACTS 2 they have been sustained and encouraged by their friends far and wide (you know who you are and thank you) to find a way forward, and they have examined in depth how their strengths may continue to have an impact on the education of their pupils. Within the new Standards, for Career-Long Professional Learning and for Leadership and Management, Chartered Teachers have found contexts for continued recognition of their professional activities. With the advent of Professional Update, there is a renewed incentive for all teachers to adopt the reflective, dynamic approach to Continuing Professional Development envisioned by Professor McCrone in his 2000 report “A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century” and recommended by Graham Donaldson in his 2007 report “Teaching Scotland’s Children”. It is a mindset which sees CPD as “an integral part of your career as a teacher, not just as a requirement, but as your right.” (GTCS) Networking and group discussion were reported to be the most effective type of CPD (Donaldson, 2011)
As the curtain opens on ACTS 3, the former Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland takes the stage confidently with a new name, Scottish Teachers for Enhancing Practice (STEP) and invites all teachers to join with them in their aim to deliver “high-quality classroom practice identified through action-oriented research and the implementation of teaching practices and methods that enhance the education of pupils.” and to continue to be “a resource for the nation as well as for their schools and local authorities.” (McCrone, 2000).
So although we have reached the finale, it is by no means the end! Create, Lead, Promote, Sustain – these four active concepts will characterise the work of members of STEP. (Sharp-eyed readers will recognise the source of these themes.) Members of STEP are committed to these actions and will continue to be motivated by them. “..from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” (Darwin)