School head-driven professional development sessions: How do these sessions improve teachers’ classroom practices in a private secondary school in upper Chitral?

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This thesis builds on and contributes to a deeper understanding of the role of school head-driven professional development sessions in improving teachers’ classroom practices in a private school context. As a school head with the organization Aga Khan Education Service for Pakistan (AKESP), I planned and conducted school-based professional development sessions in my school context to improve teachers’ pedagogical knowledge. The impact of those sessions in enhancing teachers’ pedagogical knowledge leading to improvement has not been studied systematically in the Chitral context. Hence, through this study, I wanted to document the influence of school head-driven professional development sessions on improving teachers’ classroom practices. Using a qualitative study, the data was collected through semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and document reviews.
By following the five aspects of general pedagogical knowledge of teachers, proposed by Voss et al. (2011), the study found that school-based professional development sessions conducted by the school head were helpful in enhancing the generic areas of pedagogy and positively influenced teachers’ classroom practices in terms of creating compelling and friendly learning environments in their classrooms. Moreover, the data suggests that school heads and teachers involved in the study had positive perceptions about the influence of professional development sessions on improving teachers’ classroom practices. However, the data also indicated that the school-based professional development sessions were not helpful in providing specific strategies to teach different subjects or a particular topic despite the command of most teachers in the subject matter knowledge.
The possible reasons for this void, based on the data, is that a solo school head would not be able to provide support to the diverse needs and typologies of teachers. Hence, it is suggested that to accommodate the diverse subject needs and typology of teachers, broad networking with different professionals both within and outside the system should be developed and should involve such professionals in the professional development sessions. Finally, the school should introduce action research opportunities for teachers to improve their classroom practices through systematically studying the issues and finding relevant solutions. The study suggests to have a large scale study through mixed methods would be helpful in the generalization of the finding.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library