Title

The relationships between conceptions and opportunities of teachers’ professional development

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Teachers’ professional development is a growing area of interest internationally. Universities around the world are engaged in planning and executing contextually relevant professional development opportunities for the in-service schoolteachers. Every year, government of Pakistan invests heavily on teacher education by collaborating with international and national organizations. However, the relevant literature reveals that professional development opportunities in Pakistan are still falling under the technocratic view of teacher education, which encompasses the range of training programs that aim to equip teachers with certain set of skills but providing limited opportunities of collaboration at the same time (Ali, 2011; Rizvi, 2016). The main aim of this investigation was to explore the relationships between the various professional development opportunities that the selected teachers had been receiving from the universities and their conceptions of professional development. It was significant to undertake this research because teachers’ understanding or conceptions of professional development are directly related to the way they teach in the classroom and are influenced by the sort of opportunities they avail (Fullan, 2016; Guskey, 2002; Kennedy, 2005; O'Sullivan, 2006). It is a general assumption that teachers teach the way they are taught (Fullan, 2016); therefore, teachers’ professional development opportunities have the potential to influence teachers’ teaching practices. A multiple case study approach was used to achieve the research objective. Twenty (20) semi structured telephonic interviews were conducted with different stakeholders that included a primary, a secondary schoolteacher and a school principal from a private, a public and a community school based in Karachi and Sukkur. A professional development representative was also interviewed from the selected international university in Karachi, Pakistan, and a national university in Sukkur, Pakistan. Only those schoolteachers were interviewed who had received professional development opportunities from the selected universities. The key findings revealed that in the case of an international university, the teachers were exposed to the modern teaching methods where they experienced opportunities of intensive field visits, reflective sessions, rigorous collaborative work, receiving peer feedback and leading inquiry-based teaching. Therefore, they had contemporary conceptions of professional development. On the other hand, in the case of the national university, the teachers had experienced limited opportunities of teacher interaction, relating content of training with their practice, and limited practical knowledge. Therefore, they had traditional conceptions of professional development. It is expected that, based on the findings, universities and policy makers will be able to offer transformative professional development opportunities so that teachers can be developed as active professionals who can influence and drive change, and who have the vision and the capacity to transform life within their schools.

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