Saturday, July 10, 2010

ISER Paper Mahlangu


TITLE: What Professional Development Do Teachers Need In Their Training?

18 – 30 JULY 2010

Dr. Vimbi. Mahlangu

Table of Contents
1. Abstract
1.1 Introduction
2. Definition of concepts
2.1 Education law
2.2 Learning area
2.3 Methodology
2.4 Professional development
2.5 Training
2.6 Multicultural education
3.1The professional developmental needs of training teachers
3.2 Globalisation and teacher development
3.3 Professional portfolio
3.4 Teacher training and the influence of the environment
3.5 Technology and teacher development
3.6 Teacher training in racism and tolerance of diversity
3.7 The importance of motivation
3.8 Teacher development and the legal duty of care
3.9 Teacher training in learner discipline
3.10 Teacher knowledge and teacher development
3.11 Teacher training in teacher roles
4. The researcher’s perceptions on what professional development do teachers need?
5. Conclusion
6. References

Title: What Professional Development Do Teachers Need In Their Training?

1. Abstract

This paper discusses the aspects of professional teacher development that are important in training teachers at universities. Some of the aspects amongst others are the learning area specialisation, methodology, curriculum implementation and other aspects that deal with learner achievement. This paper explores whether the training of teachers in learning areas only will make them better and capable teachers or is there something that needs to be added in their training or not. It is very important to ask the question: Why many schools are experiencing problems on the part of teachers and the learners? What is an ideal model for teacher training in South African universities? The paper will also focus on whether the practising teachers are empowered to deal with the learner and practising teachers in schools.

This paper is based on a literature study and the researcher’s own experiences with teacher training programmes.

Findings of the study indicate that education law and management are key to teacher training. This paper argues that a lack of understanding of racism and tolerance of diversity and other aspects of the law may stifle change in teacher development.

This paper recommends that all teacher training programmes at universities should include aspects of the law, racism and tolerance of diversity, globalisation, technology, multicultural education; the legal duty of care, motivation, professional portfolio development, learner discipline, teacher roles and teacher knowledge. Universities should workshop practising teachers about the aspects of the law. This may minimise the challenges that will be facing teachers in the future.

Key words: professional development, training, learning area, methodology, education law, multicultural education
1.1 Introduction
Human resources vary in quality. No two teachers may bring the same qualities to the classroom. Some are superb teachers but may be poor administrators; others may be less inspired teachers but may have excellent class control and offer considerable pastoral support (Glover & Levacic, 2007:8). Schools try to serve many masters: students, parents, teachers, administrators, commerce, media, special interest groups, and varying educational philosophies and laws. These are usually competitive interests with divergent agendas (Nelson, Palonsky & McCarthy, 2007: 37). Teachers are expected to meet the needs of all the stakeholders. Schools are directly engaged in developing the individuals and society of the future (Ibid, 200:50) and what kind of individuals and society will teachers develop. Teachers hold the keys to the success of future state policies aimed at the creation of a more equitable and peaceful society in South Africa (Coutts, 1996:2-3).

Teachers need development in the following areas, namely: political education, vocational education, addressing poverty; the regeneration of values, health care, upholding of human rights, the cultivation of excellence, the defending of the principle of democracy, being broadly tolerant of the wide diversity of cultures represented in our classrooms and simple kindness to professional duties (Ibid, 1996:3-8).

2. Definition of concepts
2.1 Education law is a systemised collection of legal rules from various branches of the law that find direct and indirect application in education and regulate relationships and activities (Beckmann & Sehoole, 2004:18).

2.2 Learning area refers to the learning content or subject (Slabbert, 2003:5).

2.3 Methodology refers to the study of methods. In this paper the meaning of methodology will mean the way teachers are given grounded knowledge and skills on how to teach a particular learning area.

2.4 Professional development
According to the thesaurus of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
database, professional development refers to "activities to enhance professional
career growth." Such activities may include individual development, continuing
education, and in-service education, as well as curriculum writing, peer collaboration,
study groups, and peer coaching or mentoring. Professional development ... goes
beyond the term 'training' with its implications of
learning skills, and encompasses a definition that includes formal and informal means
of helping teachers not only learn new skills but also develop new insights into
pedagogy and their own practice, and explore new or advanced understandings of
content and resources.

This definition of professional development includes support
for teachers as they encounter the challenges that come with putting into practice their
evolving understandings about the use of technology to support inquiry-based
learning.... Current technologies offer resources to meet these challenges and provide
teachers with a cluster of supports that help them continue to grow in their professional
skills, understandings, and interests."(

2.5 Training
Training is a learning process that involves the acquisition of knowledge, sharpening of skills, concepts and rules. It is the changing of attitudes and behaviours to enhance the performance of employees.

2.6 Multicultural education
"Multicultural education is a field of study and an emerging discipline whose major aim is to create equal educational opportunities for students from diverse racial, ethnic, social-class, and cultural groups. One of its important goals is to help all students to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to function effectively in a pluralistic democratic society and to interact, negotiate, and communicate with peoples from diverse groups in order to create a civic and moral community that works for the common good." (Banks and Banks, 1995: p. xi)

3. The professional developmental needs of training teachers

This paper argues that the most prominent aspects that need to be emphasised in teacher development and training are the following, namely:
• Globalisation;
• Development of teacher portfolios;
• Multicultural education;
• Dealing with racism and tolerance of diversity;
• Motivation;
• Legal duty of care; and
• Learner discipline. All these aspects must be guided by education law and policy in terms of how they must be done

3.1 Globalisation and teacher development
Teacher education can be central to helping teachers enhance the academic achievement and future life opportunities for all learners. Teachers well-qualified in traditional teaching skills may not necessarily possess the multicultural knowledge, dispositions, and skills to meet the needs of diverse student population (Vavrus, 2002: 15). Teacher education needs to respond to globalisation. In this paper globalisation will mean to learn something from people we will never meet and to be affected by histories that we may never live. Educating teachers for multicultural democratic citizenship is an important aspect of global awareness and should be brought to the forefront in teacher training and development (Ibid, 2002: 123-125).
Too often teachers hold the expectations that the students who enter their classrooms will all act, think, and look like them (McEwan, 2000:8).

3.2 Professional portfolio
The portfolio is an ongoing, holistic, and comprehensive overview of development in the teaching profession. Portfolios allow teachers the space to identify their learning through reflection. The importance of a portfolio will communicate volumes about the teacher’s work ethic, personality, knowledge of subject (content), learning and human development, strategies, motivation and classroom management, communication skills, planning, assessment, commitment and whether the teacher can work with learners and other stakeholders by forming partnerships( Rieman & Okrasinski, 2007:4-5). From the university level student teachers should be taught to develop and to keep portfolios which will help prospective employers in developing the teacher further.

3.3 Teacher training and the influence of the environment
Kearns’(2001) Northern Irish study found that when given the choice, early career teachers select professional developmental activities not only related to school priorities and class priorities but also personal interest. The social and emotional aspects of being a teacher and forging one’s professional identity need to be explored (Kennedy & Clinton, 2009: 29-41). According to Kennedy & Clinton (2009:38), some form of mentoring in developing teachers ought to continue beyond the induction year.

In training teachers universities should make teachers aware that most of their professional developmental needs will be met through peer observation, visiting other schools, attending conferences, taking part in examining processes (becoming examiners), self-evaluation, collaborative planning and evaluation and attending short courses (Gray, 2005:9).

3.4 Technology and teacher development
Professional development for technology use should be an integral part of the university teacher training plan. The effective technology use can come in a variety of forms, such as mentoring, modelling, ongoing workshops, special courses. There must be a direct link between technology and the curriculum (Killion, 1999). The use of technology should be interdisciplinary, i.e. all departments at the university to use technology as part of teachers training. Technology education requires the assistance of universities that will integrate technology into their curriculum.

3.5 Multicultural Education and teacher training
Multicultural education is a reform effort that strives to create conditions within public schools for fostering equality and equity for all students. Unlike dominant reform strands that focus mainly on student and teacher testing as the primary objective to increase student achievement, multicultural education interrogates political conditions of educational practices that obstruct the goals of equity and equality (Vavrus, 2002:16). The fundamental goal of multicultural education is to reform the school and other educational institutions so that students from diverse racial, ethnic, and social class groups will experience educational equality (Ibid, 2002:16).

A teacher education programme can represent a secure space to develop an identity oppositional to racism. Tileston (2004) is of the opinion that every teacher should know about diverse learners, student motivation, learning, memory and the brain, instructional planning, effective teaching strategies, classroom management and discipline, student assessment, special learners, media and technology, the profession and politics of teaching.

3.6 Teacher training in racism and tolerance of diversity
The core of teacher empowerment lies in recognising the essential worth of each and every child as an open potential. Teachers should be developed in such a manner that they will be able to serve all students without negative discrimination (Coutts, 1996:67). Teachers need training on how to deal and cope with racism in the classroom. The knowledge of the Constitutional values should form the basis for teacher development and training at universities.

3.7 The importance of motivation
McGregor has offered two polarised views of work motivation. The McGregor account labels the two types of motivation ’’X” and “Y” (McGregor 1960). Theory X states that the average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if possible. Because of this human characteristic of dislike of work, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort towards the achievement of the objectives of the project. The human being prefers to be directed, wishing to avoid responsibility. According to Theory Y, the ordinary person does inherently dislike work. The most significant reward that can be offered in order to obtain commitment is the satisfaction of the individual’s self-actualisation needs. Theory Z, argues that individuals might have to accept responsibility for decisions, there should be a consensus in decision-making (Bisschoff, Govender and Osthuizen, 2009:61-62).

3.8 Teacher development and the legal duty of care
Universities need to develop teachers in handling the duty of care. The courts recognise that accidents happen in schools, and a teacher will have breached their duty of care only if: the injury was reasonably foreseeable and the injury occurred because the teacher did not carry out their responsibilities in a sufficiently careful manner (Hopkins, 2002:2). The duty of care requires teachers to be proactive where students could be injured, and the teacher development training should cater for education law knowledge and understanding for training teachers.

3.9 Teacher training in learner discipline
Handling of discipline is also another aspect that needs greater attention in teacher training. The power of government schools and their teachers to discipline students comes from education department regulations and policies. On the basis of these, schools develop their own rules and practices. Teachers who are new to a school should familiarise themselves with the school’s discipline policies and procedures. A certain punishment may be lawful, but unacceptable to a particular school’s policy and may lead to disciplinary action against the teacher (Ibid, 2002: 22). Teacher training need to cover aspects of the law such as professional negligence (carelessness), administering of medication to students, searches, sexual assault, bullying, defamation, and any other aspects that will jeopardise the teacher’s career prospects.

3.10 Teacher knowledge and teacher development
According to Eggen and Kauchak (2006:8-10), research indicates that at least four different kinds of knowledge are essential for expert teaching. Each helps teachers make professional decisions, such as determining the most effective ways to help students reach standards. These different types of knowledge include:
• Knowledge content (what teachers know and how they teach);
• Pedagogical content knowledge (what makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult);
• General pedagogical knowledge (general principles of instruction);
• Knowledge of learners and learning;
• Generative knowledge (involves both learning content and the ability to think critically), i.e. knowledge used to interpret new situations, to solve problems, to think and reason, and to learn) (Ibid, 2006:71).

3.11 Teacher training in teacher roles
Teacher training will be incomplete if teachers are not developed in the following seven roles of the teacher, namely:
• The teachers as a learning mediator; Interpreter and designer of learning programmes and material; Leader, administrator and manager; Scholar, researcher and lifelong learner; Learning area or discipline expert (grounded knowledge, skills, values; methods in the learning area); Community, citizenship and pastoral role; and as an Assessor (Slabbert, 2003:5)

4. The researcher’s perceptions on what professional development do teachers need?
• Teachers should have sound knowledge of the content; Good training in content/subject specialisation; To be well trained in teaching methodologies; Be taught about various teaching styles/strategies;

• Be trained on how to use ICT –Computers in training and learning processes;

• Be trained/taught about ethics and morals and values of the teaching profession; Be taught to be flexible; To be hard workers; To be able to work in various working conditions;

• To be assigned a mentor at school level; To be exposed to real life situations from year one of the training;
• To be trained as counsellors;
• To do action research ;
• To be trained in policies; To trained in education law; and in
• Practical training and relevant content (More emphasis on practical, and less emphasis on theoretical knowledge);Need to know how to behave in a professional environment;
• Need to be educated about professional ethics, and how to conduct themselves as educators;
• To be trained in researching skills;
• To be life-long learners;
• Time management;

• To be trained in professionalism; To be trained on how to plan lessons; To be trained on how to draw a time-table; To be trained to be available and accessible to learners at all times;To be trained in professional relationships with the learners;To be trained about their Code of Conduct; To research their learning areas; To trained on how to develop teamwork; To trained about good behaviour; To be trained in school organisation; To be trained in assessment; and to trained in mediation.

5. Conclusion
Teacher development should include a whole range of aspects in order to develop teachers in a holistic manner. Teachers should be trained in education law and policy implementation. Prominent aspects that the professional teacher development training should include amongst others are racism and tolerance of diversity, globalisation, technology, multicultural education, the legal duty of care, motivation, professional portfolio; learner discipline, teacher roles and teacher knowledge.

6. References
6.1 Beckmann, JL & Sehoole, MJ. 2004. Learning Guide: Bed (Hons) Education Management, Law and Policy, Module: Education Law and Policy (ELP 721). University of Pretoria: Faculty of Education.
6.2 Bisschoff, T, Govender, C, & Oosthuzen, P. 2009. Project Management in Education and Training. Van Schaik Publishers:Pretoria
6.3 Coutts, A (ed). 1996. Empower The Teacher. National Book Printers: Western Cape.
6.4 Eggen, PD & Kauchak, DP. 2006. Strategies and Models for Teachers: Teaching Content and Thinking Skills.5th Edition.Pearson Education, Inc.: United States of America.
6.5 Glover, D & Levacic, R. 2007. Educational Resource Management: An International Perspective. Institute if Education, University of London: London.
6.6 Gray, SL.. 2005. An Enquiry Into Continuing Professional Development for Teachers. Esme’e Fairbairn: University of Cambridge.
6.7 Hopkins, D. 2002. Teachers, students & the law; A quick reference guide for teachers, National edition.Victoria Law Foundation: Melbourne.
6.8 Kennedy, A & Clinton, C. 2009. Identifying the professional development needs of early career teachers in Scotland using nominal group technique. Published in Teacher Development, Volume 13, Issue 1 February 2009, pages 29-41.
6.9 Killion, J. 1999. Excerpted from a videotaped presentation by Joellen Killion at the Technology Leadership Team Institute, July 1999, in Leesburg, VA (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1999).
6.10 McEwan, B. 2000. The Art of Classroom Management: Effective Practices for Building Equitable Learning Communities. Prentice-Hall: New Jersey.
6.11 Nelson, JL, Palonsky, SB & McCarthy, MR. 2007. Critical Issues in Education: Dialogue and Dialectics. Sixth Edition. McGraw Hill. New York.
6.12 Rieman, PL & Okrasinski, J. 2007. Creating Your Teaching Portfolio: Presenting Your Professional Best, Second Edition. McGraw Hill: New York.
6.13 Slabbert, JA. 2003. Facilitating Learning: Seven Educator roles in the book. University of Pretoria: Faculty of Education.
6.14 Tileston, DW. 2004. What Every Teacher Should Know About Effective Teaching Strategies. Corwin Press: California.
6.15 Vavrus, M. 2002. Transforming the Multicultural Education of Teachers:Theory Research and Practice. Teachers College Press: New York.

No comments: