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Characteristics of professional development linked to enhanced pedagogy and children's learning in early childhood settings: A best evidence synthesis

Linda Mitchell and Pam Cubey

This best evidence synthesis is derived from research that provides strong evidence of linkages to learning opportunities, experiences, and outcomes for children. 

An important focus of the work is professional development in support of educational practice that is inclusive of diverse children, families, and whänau.  Specific emphasis is on evidence related to learning opportunities and outcomes through the provision of professional development for Mäori children, Pasifika children and children, from low socio-economic families. 

An extensive search was made for New Zealand and international material through library databases and contact with researchers and professional development providers.  Research was critiqued and selected if it met yardsticks for quality evidence.  Cross-study analysis was undertaken and the evidence integrated to address the research questions.

The synthesis findings of the impact of professional development have been summarised into three categories:

  • enhancing pedagogy
  • contributing to children's learning
  • building linkages between early childhood education settings and other settings.

Eight characteristics of quality professional development are derived from evidence of the processes and conditions operating in the programmes under review.  Structural conditions supporting quality professional development are also discussed.  Recommendations are made for further research and research accessibility.

Published by the Ministry of Education as part of their Best evidence synthesis series, 2003

Year published: 
Publication type: 
Literature review
Ministry of Education
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Linda Mitchell
Pamela Cubey