Title

Teachers workplace learning in a developing country: Facilitating and inhibiting conditions

Date of Award

8-1-2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Teacher workplace learning (TWPL) is an essential strategy for increasing opportunities for professional development towards maintaining teacher competencies for high quality teaching. Workplace learning is a relatively new concept in most developing countries. In Uganda (my country of origin) there are a few private schools where TWPL is a common practice. In most schools, however, teachers rely on distance education and, occasional, formal in-service training usually organized by district officials of government, that take the form of single- loop workshops or short courses external to the schools. In Pakistan (the context for this study) teachers engage more in site-based learning because few institutions offer formal pre-service and in-service teacher education. Individual schools, especially of the private sector, set up structures to offer in-housing training. My experience of learning to teach in compartmentalized structures, marked with cultures of individualism, pointed to a need to understand the conditions that facilitate and inhibit teacher workplace learning at the earliest opportunity. Today, it is essential to change schools into learning communities, where teachers are learners. This study sought to examine the personal and contextual conditions that facilitate and inhibit TWPL, in order to inform the process of introducing learning communities in Uganda. Three cases were studied and are presented here, along with a cross-case analysis. Studying the cases involved three interviews each, observation of their TWPL activities, two interviews with the principal, review of both teacher-made and school documents, and keeping of reflective memos. The major finding was that both personal and contextual conditions are essential in harnessing TWPL. The exemplary and proactive leadership, and ongoing internal and external support, were major contextual conditions in buttressing TWPL. It was also clear that the ‘unique person’ in the teacher has the potential to cross the contextual hurdles and maintain and influence the working cultures, so vital in TWPL. The study has some implications for different stakeholders, given in chapter five. It is hoped that the cases presented here may offer models for the teachers to learn from. Conversely, the cases may also point to issues and undesirable practices to guard against.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library

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