Towards the development of a sustainable teacher professional development approach

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Abstract

Aim: The paper reports the findings of a study on teachers’ perception of professional development (PD) activities in the context of Hong Kong secondary schools. Drawing on the findings, the characteristics of a sustainable approach to teacher professional development are identified. Content: The study adopted a mixed method design. The study aims to identify the major types of PD activities participated, types of reflections mainly adopted, and the most effective format of PD activity as perceived by teachers. A total of 636 teachers from 16 schools participated in the survey. Further, 30 teachers from 13 schools participated in the follow-up interviews. Quantitative findings revealed significant differences in perceptions on PD activities participated, influence of PD on teachers’ teaching capacity and the effectiveness of the PD activities among teachers at different stages of professional experiences, and those with different amount of administrative responsibilities. On the one hand, novice teachers with less than seven years of experience were more frequently involved in PD activities than the more experienced group. They also considered peer collaboration as an important element in improving teaching and learning. However, experienced teachers (with more than 25 years of teaching experience) were more concerned about the development of teaching expertise. Further, findings also showed that teachers with administrative responsibilities considered all aspects of PD activities important. Qualitative findings suggested that the most frequent form of PD was one-off training workshops and seminars. However, pedagogical knowledge obtained from these workshops was perceived as too theoretical. Second, the type of PD that informed teachers’ reflection and their practice was lesson observation or appraisal activities which include lesson observation. The third type of PD was the most effective when teachers with different levels of teaching experiences form study groups engaging in co-teaching and co-planning. However, teachers reported that their engagement in the second and third type of PD activities was less frequent. Sustainable PD needs to include opportunities for teachers to participate in the observation and reflection of teaching. Teachers value co-teaching and co-planning as they engage in peer study groups. Thinking deeply about teacher education: The study may provide useful information on the design of sustainable PD programmes which better address needs of teachers with different backgrounds including different levels of teaching experience and different levels of engagement in administrative duties. The country/ies to which the presentation relates: Though the study was conducted in an Asian context, findings may contribute to international discussions in identifying the characteristics of sustainable teacher professional development programmes in the UK and other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

Citation

Cheng, M. M. H., Lee, C. K. J., & Yu, W. M. C. (2017, May). Towards the development of a sustainable teacher professional development approach. Paper presented at the 8th TEAN Annual Conference: Thinking deeply about teacher education, Conference Aston, Birmingham.

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