Professional Development Of Teachers Education Essay

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This study is to examine the role of leadership in teacher professional development in Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Klang Valley. The specific variables that will be investigated include teachers perceptions of teacher professional development; teachers' expectations as well as the principal's role in facilitating teacher professional development. Developments in leadership will lead to changes in the ways teachers work. These will subsequently increase the need to review teacher professional development. The purpose of this research is to establish how the dual of the principal and the teachers manifests itself in professional development. This research will be significant as it will examine the voices of teachers on how leadership contributes to teacher professional development. The research will be conducted using qualitative methodology. It will be based on a case study of two Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Klang Valley. Data will be collected using questionnaires and follow up interviews which will be administered to elicit responses from principals, deputy principals and teachers in both schools. The findings will reveal the need for teachers in Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Klang Valley to engage more in teacher professional development programmes in order for them to have a better understanding of the concept. This study will also demonstrate if teacher professional development should be the core work of both the principals and teachers in order to create a learning environment in their schools so that both can develop professionally. Based on the results obtained in this study, we will determine if Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Klang Valley need more awareness in teacher professional development and how it will influence the leadership.

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Keywords: Leadership, Principals, Teachers, Teacher Professional Development, Teaching and Learning

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this proposed qualitative study is to help principals of Chinese Independent Schools in Selangor and their supervisors understand the interaction of leadership capacity and distributed leadership practices as they relate to professional development within a school. The study will capture leadership practices in an effort to reveal how the practices impact on the professional development of the teachers. The overall question under consideration is: How do schools and school leaders understand capacity building while using that process to build and/or sustain a culture for professional learning? The intention is to understand more about systems that promote professional development and as a result contribute towards school development.

The role of the principal in facilitating the development of organizational learning and capacity building via professional development related to instruction, student achievement, leadership roles, inquiry, teacher engagement, vision, goal setting, shared norms and values will be examined using case study methodology. Interviews, open-ended survey results, focus groups, and documents as well as environmental observations will be analyzed to reveal the role of the principal in this context. The case studies will examine the behaviors, actions, and interactions of principals and teachers within schools where leadership and professional development is considered to be in place through formal and informal structures established at the district and building level. All of the principals in the study are from the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Selangor. Qualitative research is proposed in order to examine and articulate practices related to school leadership and professional development. Four case studies are proposed to help inform established and new principals embrace the paradox of leadership with purpose as well as an understanding that each story needs to be told in order to meet the obligation of building knowledge as part of a school's culture.

Teachers are the main resources of an education system. They have important roles and responsibilities to exercise in the teaching profession and to mould students in accordance with the changing social needs. Therefore, professional development needs of teachers constantly change and develop along with the changing expectations regarding the quality of education, the changing social needs, technological changes and the effect of technology on learning, the change in student population, and the transforming paradigms in learning and teaching.

 

Professional development of teachers is a must for school improvement and educational change. It is useful not only for teachers, but also for students, school administrators, parents, families and colleagues. Thus, it can be considered as both an individual and social implementation. In other words, investment on teachers is an investment on individuals whose consequences are directly reflected in the society as well. Professional development involves teachers' acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes addressing improvements in education. It compensates the lack of education in pre-service training with the help of regular in-service training. Therefore, it can be considered as a process which starts in pre-service training and goes on with in-service training till the end of the profession.

 

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Teachers' professional development is generally defined as activities such as seminars and set-courses which aim at training teachers through in-service training (Odabasi & Kabakci, 2007). It is also defined as any kind of teaching-training activity to meet teachers' needs that is necessary for their professional growth and development (Seferoglu, 2001). According to a broader definition, professional development consists of processes and activities designed to enhance the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes of teachers so that they can improve the learning of students. Therefore, professional development is a process that is intentional, ongoing and systemic (Guskey, 2000).

 

The purpose of any professional development program is to inform and change teacher behavior as a result of new information. To achieve this purpose, educators spend countless hours on professional development activities, learning to use new instructional strategies or materials (Barnett, 2003) since the  professional development of teachers must be an on-going process of refining skills, inquiring into practice, and developing new methods.Professional development leads to knowledge acquisition on the one hand and update of current knowledge and skills on the other. In this respect, the advantages of professional development can be listed as follows (Librera et al., 2004). Professional development:

 

Ø  ameliorates the field of application,

Ø  helps teachers and students meet their individual or mutual needs by providing them with the opportunities to reflect on their personal experiences, applications and research,

Ø  orientates professional experiences of high quality in schools,

Ø  contributes to educational policies in heightening standards,

Ø  helps teachers understand and explain ICTs.

 

Most countries in the world consider teacher training as a crucial subject, and so does Turkey. Teacher training has several qualitative and quantitative insufficiencies in several countries. Regardless of the quantitative adequacy of teachers, professional development of teachers remains one of the most glaring problems of teacher training. Pre-service teachers still have the chance to develop themselves since they are still within an educational institution as learners. However, in-service teachers might find themselves abandoned as they have started working and hence feel deprived of constant mentoring and guidance. The only solution to sustain lifelong learning in Turkey is to provide in-service teachers with constant support through regular and effective professional development activities