Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 11

teacher professional development Related Abstracts

11 Teacher Professional Development –Current Practices in a Secondary School in Brunei Darussalam

Authors: Shanthi Thomas

Abstract:

This research paper presents the current practices of teacher professional development, perceived as beneficial by teachers themselves, in a private secondary school in Brunei Darussalam. This is part of the findings of a larger qualitative study on teacher empowerment, using ethnographic methods for data collection, i.e. participant observation, interviews and document analysis. The field work was carried out over a period of six months in 2013. An analysis of the field data revealed multiple pathways of teacher professional development existing in the school. The results indicate that school leaders, the teacher community in the school, students, and the teachers themselves were the agents in a school that facilitated teacher empowerment. Besides contributing to the knowledge base on teacher professional development, the results of this study provides directions for educational policy makers in their efforts to enhance professional development in secondary schools of similar characteristics. For school leaders and the teacher community, these findings offer guidelines for maximizing the opportunities for these professional development practices, by strengthening collegiality and by using the existing structures optimally for the benefit of all concerned.

Keywords: colleagues and the wider teacher community, school leaders, self-driven professional development, teacher professional development

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10 Teacher Education: Teacher Development and Support

Authors: Khadem Hichem

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With the new technology challenges, dynamics and challenges of the contemporary world, most teachers are struggling to maintain effective and successful teaching /learning environment for learners. Teachers as a key to the success of reforms in the educational setting, they must improve their competencies to teach effectively. Many researchers emphasis on the ongoing professional development of the teacher by enhancing their experiences and encouraging their responsibility for learning, and thus promoting self-reliance, collaboration, and reflection. In short, teachers are considered as learners and they need to learn together. The educational system must support, both conceptually and financially, the teachers’ development as lifelong learners Teachers need opportunities to grow in language proficiency and in knowledge. Changing nature of language and culture in the world, all teachers must have opportunities to update their knowledge and practices. Many researchers in the field of foreign or additional languages indicate that teachers keep side by side of effective instructional practices and they need special support with the challenging task of developing and administering proficiency tests to their students. For significant change to occur, each individual teacher’s needs must be addressed. The teacher must be involved experientially in the process of development, since, by itself, knowledge of how to change does not mean change will be initiated. For improvement to occur, new skills have to be guided, practiced, and reflected upon in collaboration with colleagues. Clearly, teachers are at different places developmentally; therefore, allowances for various entry levels and individual differences need to be built into the professional development structure. Objectives must be meaningful to the participant and teacher improvement must be stated terms of student knowledge, student performance, and motivation. The most successful professional development process acknowledges the student-centered nature of good teaching. This paper highlights the importance of teacher professional development process and institutional supports as way to enhance good teaching and learning environment.

Keywords: Teacher Education, institutional support, teacher professional development, teacher competencies

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9 Teacher Culture Inquiry of Classroom Observation at an Elementary School in Taiwan

Authors: Tsai-Hsiu Lin

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Three dimensions of teacher culture hinder educational improvement: individualism, conservatism and presentism. To promote the professional development of teachers, these three aspects in teacher culture should be eliminated. Classroom observation may be a useful method of eliminating individualism. The Ministry of Education in Taiwan has attempted to reduce the isolation of teachers to promote their professional growth. Because classroom observation discourse varies, teachers are generally unwilling to allow their teaching to be observed. However, classroom observations take place in the country in the form of school evaluations. The main purpose of this study was to explore the differences in teachers’ conservatism, individualism and presentism after classroom observations had been conducted at an elementary school in Taiwan. The research method was a qualitative case study involving interviews with the school principal, the director of academic affairs, and two classroom teachers. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) Educators in different positions viewed classroom observations differently; (2) The classroom teachers did not highly value classroom observation; (3) There was little change in the teachers’ conservatism, individualism and presentism after classroom observation.

Keywords: teacher professional development, teacher culture, classroom observation, Lortie’s Trinity

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8 Online Teacher Professional Development: An Extension of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology Model

Authors: Lovemore Motsi

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The rapid pace of technological innovation, along with a global fascination with the internet, continues to result in a dominating call to integrate internet technologies in institutions of learning. However, the pressing question remains – how can online in-service training for teachers, support quality and success in professional development programmers. The aim of this study was to examine an integrated model that extended the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) with additional constructs – including attitude and behaviour intention – adopted from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) to answer the question. Data was collected from secondary school teachers at 10 selected schools in the Tshwane South district by means of the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS v 23.0), and the collected data was analysed quantitatively. The findings are congruent with model testing under conditions of volitional usage behaviour. In this regard, the role of facilitating condition variables is insignificant as a determinant of usage behaviour. Social norm variables also proved to be a weak determinant of behavioural intentions. Findings demonstrate that effort expectancy is the key determinant of online INSET usage. Based on these findings, the variable social influence and facilitating conditions are important factors in ensuring the acceptance of online INSET among teachers in selected secondary schools in the Tshwane South district.

Keywords: secondary schools, teacher professional development, Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), online INSET

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7 Transnational Initiatives, Local Perspectives: The Potential of Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Project to Support Teacher Professional Development in India

Authors: Atiya Khan

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Recent research on the condition of school education in India has reaffirmed the importance of quality teacher professional development, especially in light of the rapid changes in teaching methods, learning theories, curriculum, and major shifts in information and technology that education systems are experiencing around the world. However, the quality of programs of teacher professional development in India is often uneven, in some cases non-existing. The educational authorities in India have long recognized this and have developed a range of programs to assist in-service teacher education. But, these programs have been mostly inadequate at improving the quality of teachers in India. Policy literature and reports indicate that the unevenness of these programs and more generally the lack of quality teacher professional development in India are due to factors such as a large number of teachers, budgetary constraints, top-down decision making, teacher overload, lack of infrastructure, and little or no follow-up. The disparity between the government stated goals for quality teacher professional development in India and its inability to meet the learning needs of teachers suggests that new interventions are needed. The realization that globalization has brought about an increase in the social, cultural, political and economic interconnectedness between countries has also given rise to transnational opportunities for education systems, such as India’s, aiming to build their capacity to support teacher professional development. Moreover, new developments in communication technologies seem to present a plausible means of achieving high-quality professional development for teachers through the creation of social learning spaces, such as transnational learning networks. This case study investigates the potential of one such transnational learning network to support the quality of teacher professional development in India, namely the Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Project. It explores the participation of some fifteen teachers and their principals from BRIDGE participating schools in Delhi region of India; focusing on their professional development expectations from the BRIDGE program and account for their experiences in the program, in order to determine the program’s potential for the professional development of teachers in this study.

Keywords: Case study, teacher professional development, Australia-Asia BRIDGE Project, transnational learning networks

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6 The Effect of 'Teachers Teaching Teachers' Professional Development Course on Teachers’ Achievement and Classroom Practices

Authors: Nuri Balta, Ali Eryilmaz

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High-quality teachers are the key to improve student learning. Without a professional development of the teachers, the improvement of student success is difficult and incomplete. This study offers an in-service training course model for professional development of teachers (PD) entitled "teachers teaching teachers" (TTT). The basic premise of the PD program, designed for this study, was primarily aimed to increase the subject matter knowledge of high school physics teachers. The TTT course (the three hour long workshops), organized for this study, lasted for seven weeks with seventeen teachers took part in the TTT program at different amounts. In this study, the effect of the TTT program on teachers’ knowledge improvement was searched through the modern physics unit (MPU). The participating teachers taught the unit to one of their grade ten classes earlier, and they taught another equivalent class two months later. They were observed in their classes both before and after TTT program. The teachers were divided into placebo and the treatment groups. The aim of Solomon four-group design is an attempt to eliminate the possible effect of pre-test. However, in this study the similar design was used to eliminate the effect of pre teaching. The placebo group teachers taught their both classes as regular and the treatment group teachers had TTT program between the two teachings. The class observation results showed that the TTT program increased teachers’ knowledge and skills in teaching MPU. Further, participating in the TTT program caused teachers to teach the MPU in accordance with the requirements of the curriculum. In order to see any change in participating teachers’ success, an achievement test was applied to them. A large effect size (dCohen=.93) was calculated for the effect of TTT program on treatment group teachers’ achievement. The results suggest that staff developers should consider including topics, attractive to teachers, in-service training programs (a) to help teachers’ practice teaching the new topics (b) to increase the participation rate. During the conduction of the TTT courses, it was observed that teachers could not end some discussions and explain some concepts. It is now clear that teachers need support, especially when discussing counterintuitive concepts such as modern physics concepts. For this reason it is recommended that content focused PD programs be conducted at the helm of a scholarly coach.

Keywords: teacher professional development, high school physics, in-service training course, modern physics unit

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5 Implementing Lesson Study in Qatari Mathematics Classroom: A Case Study of a New Experience for Teachers through IMPULS-QU Lesson Study Program

Authors: Areej Isam Barham

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The implementation of Japanese lesson study approach in the mathematics classroom has been grown worldwide as a model of professional development for teachers. In Qatar, the implementation of IMPULS-QU lesson study program aimed to establish a robust organizational improvement model of professional development for mathematics teachers in Qatar schools. This study describes the implementation of a lesson study model at Al-Markhyia Independent Primary School through different stages; and discusses how the planning process, the research lesson, and the post discussion participates in providing teachers and researchers with a successful research lesson for teacher professional development. The research followed a case study approach in one mathematics classroom. Two teachers and one professional development specialist participated the planning process. One teacher conducted the research lesson study by introducing a problem solving related to the concept of the ‘Mean’ in a mathematics class, 21 students in grade 6 participated in solving the mathematic problem, 11 teachers, 4 professional development specialists, and 4 mathematics professors observed the research lesson. All previous participants except the students participated in a pre and post-lesson discussion within this research. This study followed a qualitative research approach by analyzing the collected data through different stages in the research lesson study. Observation, field notes, and semi-structured interviews conducted to collect data to achieve the research aims. One feature of this lesson study research is that this research describes the implementation for a lesson study as a new experience for one mathematics teacher and 21 students after 3 years of conducting IMPULS-QU project in Al-Markhyia school. The research describes various stages through the implementation of this lesson study model starting from the planning process and ending by the post discussion process. Findings of the study also address the impact of lesson study approach in teaching mathematics for the development of teachers from their point views. Results of the study show the benefits of using lesson study from the point views of participated teachers, theory perceptions about the essential features of lesson study, and their needs for future development. The discussion of the study addresses different features and issues related to the implementation of IMPULS-QU lesson study model in the mathematics classroom. In the light of the study, the research presents recommendations and suggestions for future professional development.

Keywords: Mathematics Education, teacher professional development, lesson study, mathematics teaching experience

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4 Understanding Language Teachers’ Motivations towards Research Engagement: A Qualitative Case Study of Vietnamese Tertiary English Teachers

Authors: My T. Truong

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Among various professional development (PD) options available for English as a second language (ESL) teachers, especially those at the tertiary level, research engagement has been recently recommended as an innovative model with a transformative force for both individual teachers’ PD and wider school improvement. Teachers who conduct research themselves tend to develop critical and analytical thinking about their instructional practices, and enhance their ability to make autonomous pedagogical judgments and decisions. With such capabilities, teacher researchers are thus more likely to contribute to curriculum innovation of their schools and improvement of the whole educational process. The extent to which ESL teachers are engaged in research, however, depends largely on their research motivation, which can not only decide teachers’ choice of a PD activity to pursue but also affect the degree and duration of effort they are willing to invest in pursuing it. To understand language teachers’ research practices, and to inform educational authorities about ways to promote research culture among their ESL teaching staff, it is therefore vital to investigate teachers’ research motivation. Despite its importance as such, this individual difference construct has not been paid due attention especially in the ESL contexts. To fill this gap, this study aims to explore Vietnamese tertiary ESL teachers’ motivations towards research. Guided by the self-determination theory and the process model of motivation, it investigates teachers’ initial motivations for conducting research, and the factors that sustained or degraded their motivation during the research engagement process. Adopting a qualitative case-study approach, the study collected longitudinal data via semi-structured interviews and guided diary entries from three ESL tertiary teachers who were conducting their own research project. The respondents attended two semi-structured interviews (one at the beginning of their project, and the other one three months afterwards); and wrote six guided diary entries between the two interviews. The results confirm the significant role motivation plays in driving teachers to initiate and maintain their participation in research, and challenge some common assumptions in teacher motivation literature. For instance, the quality of the past and actual research experience unsurprisingly emerged as an important factor that both motivated and demotivated teachers in their research engagement process. Unlike general suggestions in the motivation literature however, external demand was found in this study to be a critical motivation sustaining factor while intrinsic research interest actually did not suffice to help a teacher fulfil his research endeavor. With such findings, the study is expected to widen the motivational perspective in understanding language teacher research practice given the paucity of related studies. Practically, it is hoped to enable teacher educators, PD program designers and educational policy makers in Vietnam and similar contexts to approach the question of whether and how to promote research activities among ESL teachers feasibly. For practicing and in-service teachers, the findings may elucidate to them the motivational conditions in which they can be research engaged, and the motivational factors that might hinder or encourage them in so doing.

Keywords: teacher professional development, teacher motivation, teacher research engagement, English as a second language (ESL)

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3 From Equations to Structures: Linking Abstract Algebra and High-School Algebra for Secondary School Teachers

Authors: J. Shamash

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The high-school curriculum in algebra deals mainly with the solution of different types of equations. However, modern algebra has a completely different viewpoint and is concerned with algebraic structures and operations. A question then arises: What might be the relevance and contribution of an abstract algebra course for developing expertise and mathematical perspective in secondary school mathematics instruction? This is the focus of this paper. The course Algebra: From Equations to Structures is a carefully designed abstract algebra course for Israeli secondary school mathematics teachers. The course provides an introduction to algebraic structures and modern abstract algebra, and links abstract algebra to the high-school curriculum in algebra. It follows the historical attempts of mathematicians to solve polynomial equations of higher degrees, attempts which resulted in the development of group theory and field theory by Galois and Abel. In other words, algebraic structures grew out of a need to solve certain problems, and proved to be a much more fruitful way of viewing them. This theorems in both group theory and field theory. Along the historical ‘journey’, many other major results in algebra in the past 150 years are introduced, and recent directions that current research in algebra is taking are highlighted. This course is part of a unique master’s program – the Rothschild-Weizmann Program – offered by the Weizmann Institute of Science, especially designed for practicing Israeli secondary school teachers. A major component of the program comprises mathematical studies tailored for the students at the program. The rationale and structure of the course Algebra: From Equations to Structures are described, and its relevance to teaching school algebra is examined by analyzing three kinds of data sources. The first are position papers written by the participating teachers regarding the relevance of advanced mathematics studies to expertise in classroom instruction. The second data source are didactic materials designed by the participating teachers in which they connected the mathematics learned in the mathematics courses to the school curriculum and teaching. The third date source are final projects carried out by the teachers based on material learned in the course.

Keywords: Abstract Algebra, teacher professional development, linking abstract algebra and school mathematics, school algebra, secondary school mathematics

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2 Developing Pedagogy for Argumentation and Teacher Agency: An Educational Design Study in the UK

Authors: Zeynep Guler

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Argumentation and the production of scientific arguments are essential components that are necessary for helping students become scientifically literate through engaging them in constructing and critiquing ideas. Incorporating argumentation into science classrooms is challenging and can be a long-term process for both students and teachers. Students have difficulty in engaging tasks that require them to craft arguments, evaluate them to seek weaknesses, and revise them. Teachers also struggle with facilitating argumentation when they have underdeveloped science practices, underdeveloped pedagogical knowledge for argumentation science teaching, or underdeveloped teaching practice with argumentation (or a combination of all three). Thus, there is a need to support teachers in developing pedagogy for science teaching as argumentation, planning and implementing teaching practice for facilitating argumentation and also in becoming more agentic in this regards. Looking specifically at the experience of agency within education, it is arguable that agency is necessary for teachers’ renegotiation of professional purposes and practices in the light of changing educational practices. This study investigated how science teachers develop pedagogy for argumentation both individually and with their colleagues and also how teachers become more agentic (or not) through the active engagement of their contexts-for-action that refer to this as an ecological understanding of agency in order to positively influence or change their practice and their students' engagement with argumentation over two academic years. Through educational design study, this study conducted with three secondary science teachers (key stage 3-year 7 students aged 11-12) in the UK to find out if similar or different patterns of developing pedagogy for argumentation and of becoming more agentic emerge as they engage in planning and implementing a cycle of activities during the practice of teaching science with argumentation. Data from video and audio-recording of classroom practice and open-ended interviews with the science teachers were analysed using content analysis. The findings indicated that all the science teachers perceived strong agency in their opportunities to develop and apply pedagogical practices within the classroom. The teachers were pro-actively shaping their practices and classroom contexts in ways that were over and above the amendments to their pedagogy. They demonstrated some outcomes in developing pedagogy for argumentation and becoming more agentic in their teaching in this regards as a result of the collaboration with their colleagues and researcher; some appeared more agentic than others. The role of the collaboration between their colleagues was seen crucial for the teachers’ practice in the schools: close collaboration and support from other teachers in planning and implementing new educational innovations were seen as crucial for the development of pedagogy and becoming more agentic in practice. They needed to understand the importance of scientific argumentation but also understand how it can be planned and integrated into classroom practice. They also perceived constraint emerged from their lack of competence and knowledge in posing appropriate questions to help the students engage in argumentation, providing support for the students' construction of oral and written arguments.

Keywords: Argumentation, teacher professional development, teacher agency, students' construction of argument

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1 Implementation of a Culturally Responsive Home Visiting Framework in Head Start Teacher Professional Development

Authors: Meilan Jin, Mary Jane Moran

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This study aims to introduce the framework of culturally responsive home visiting (CRHV) to head start teacher professional sessions in the Southeastern of the US and investigate its influence on the evolving beliefs of teachers about their roles and relationships with families in-home visits. The framework orients teachers to an effective way of taking on the role of learner to listen for spoken and unspoken needs and look for family strengths. In addition, it challenges the deficit model that is grounded on 'cultural deprivation,' and it stresses the value of family cultures and advocates equal, collaborative parent-teacher relationships. The home visit reflection papers and focus group transcriptions of eight teachers have been collected since 2010 throughout a five-year longitudinal collaboration with them. Reflection papers were written by the teachers before and after introducing the CRHV framework, including the details of visit purposes and actions and their plans for later home visits. Particularly, the CRHV framework guided the teachers to listen and look for information about family-living environments; parent-child interactions; child-rearing practices; and parental beliefs, values, and needs. Two focus groups were organized in 2014 by asking the teachers to read their written reflection papers and then discussing their shared beliefs and experiences of home visits in recent years. The average length of the discussions was one hour, and the discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Moreover, the data were analyzed using constant comparative analysis, and the analysis was verified through (a) the uses of multiple data sources, (b) the involvement of multiple researchers, (c) coding checks, and (d) the provisions of the thick descriptions of the findings. The study findings corroborate that the teachers become to reposition themselves as 'knowledge seekers' through reorienting their cynosure toward 'setting stones' to learn, grow, and change rather than framing their home visits. The teachers also continually engage in careful listening, observing, questioning, and dialoguing, and these actions reflect their care toward parents. The value of teamwork with parents is advocated, and the teachers recognize that when parents feel empowered, they are active and committed to doing more for their children, which can further advantage proactive long-term parent-teacher collaborations. The study findings also validate that the framework is influential for educators to provide the experiences of home visiting that is culturally responsive and to share collaborative relationships with caregivers. The long-term impact of the framework further implies that teachers continue to put themselves in the position of evolving, including beliefs and actions, to better work with children and families who are culturally, ethnically, and linguistically different from them. This framework can be applicable to educators and professionals who are looking for avenues to bridge the relationship between home and school and parents and teachers.

Keywords: Early Childhood Education, teacher professional development, culturally responsive home visit, parent–teacher collaboration

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