Over the past number of years, I have been delighted to have been involved in the development of the Teaching Council Framework entitled “Cosán”. This framework recognises teacher professional development and reflection as we progress throughout our professional careers. It has been a long process from the development of the framework to delivering the framework to educators in various Education Centres across the country. As a Cosán facilitator, I have learned a lot about the framework and have witnessed innovative and creative ways in which the frameowrk has been implemented in various schools.
What is Cosán?
Cosán is a framework developed by the Teaching Council of Ireland, which recognises teachers professional learning and reflection on learning as an integral part of our profession. It encourages and promotes lifelong learning and follows on from the Droichead process. This framework has been developed by teachers, for teachers – and it is very flexible in nature to allow implementation by a variety of means.
Based on teacher feedback, Cosán has been developed with only 2 underpinning standards. These are:
- Quality teaching and learning.
- Continued professional growth for enhanced professional practice.
The key elements of Cosán are divided into learning processes and learning areas respectively. These include research, well being, ICT, inclusion, courses, to name but a few from the infographic. All of this learning can happen individually, collaboratively, formally or informally. However, it is important to note that all this professional learning has a direct impact on student learning. This framework places teacher learning at the heart, but it has an impact on students. Cosán is the first framework that recognises our teacher learning and places emphasis on the importance of our learning on our students.
And within the framework, all of the learning processes highlighted take place in a context where teachers are reflective practitioners, who reflect on their learning, and on their practice, and on the connections between their learning and their practice. So reflection is absolutely key to Cosán. In reflecting on our practice, whether individually or collaboratively, we can identify opportunities for development and engagement in professional learning.
And of course, it’s crucial to continue to reflect on our professional learning, and explore the impact this is having on practice – so essentially it’s a cyclical process. Hence this is why reflection and reflection on practice wrap around the framework.
But what does Cosán look like in our schools? The answer is very different for each school context. The framework has been designed to be flexible in nature to allow educators to explore various areas and processes that suit them. Cosán has been designed to be included as an integral part of the school, rather than adapting the school to fit the framework. Many of the learning areas and processes are already happening in schools – but bringing awareness to this can not only enhance the learning process but also encourage and promote continued reflection, thus continuing growth and development.
The Cosán Workshop/Webinar Series
For schools interested in exploring the Cosán framework in more detail and exploring how to implement it in their own school context, The Teaching Council have provided workshops through various Education Centres around the country. As a Cosán Facilitator for various education centres, I have learned a lot relating to the different approaches that teachers have relating to the implementation of the framework. These 3 series workshops have become webinars (since Covid-19) but the quality and collaboration has still be as enriching as ever before.
If you or your school is interested in learning more about the framework or want to participate in the next Cosán series, please see the Teaching Council website for further information: https://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/teacher-education/teachers-learning-cpd-/cosan/