An exploration of the role of the continuous professional teacher development (CPTD) programme, on senior school managers within the Uthukela district.
Jordan, Marilyn Megan
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The National Policy Framework for Teacher Education and Development (NPFTED), (Department of Education, 2007), seeks to address the need for suitably qualified teachers in South Africa, as well as challenges facing learner performance and teacher education and development (TED). Research reveals that to improve learner performance and have improved schools, there needs to be professionally developed teachers, school managers and leaders. Consequently, exploring the link between teacher professional development and improved learner performance is important. This study aims to explore the role of the Continuous Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) programme on senior school managers within the Uthukela District. This study also aims to explore the extent to which the CPTD Programme reflects the features of effective professional development, as outlined by Desimone (2009). The study is located within the interpretive paradigm and adopts a qualitative case study approach and therefore, adopts qualitative methods of data collection, and purposive sampling of six senior school managers to understand the senior school manager’s perspectives of CPTD. The conceptual framework that underpins this study is Desimone’s (2009) framework of professional learning and development. Semi-structured interviews, document analysis and observation were the methods used to collect data. Qualitative data that was collected was analysed using thematic analysis. A key finding of this study is that all the participants viewed professional development as the pursuit of formal award-bearing qualifications. Additionally, coaching and mentoring is widely practiced in the sampled schools. Findings also reveal that workshops are a key form of CPTD. Another finding is the role of CPTD as a development tool, despite a limited knowledge of the CPTD programme. Amongst the participants, professional development was underpinned by a managerial discourse. A key finding was that CPTD partially reflects Desimone’s (2009) features of effective professional development. For CPTD activities within the district to be deemed effective, there needs to be greater collective participation, duration and active learning. Features of content focus and coherence, as proposed by Desimone (2009) were evident. The study recommends that senior school managers be retrained regarding advocacy of CPTD in the Uthukela District and that the National Policy Framework on Teacher Education and Development (NPFTED) be unpacked for them to address problems within teacher development. Additionally, senior school managers should be offered award-bearing opportunities to address CPD needs such as coaching and mentoring, financial management in schools and human relations courses, which are all directly relevant to their daily practice. Moreover, it is recommended that senior school managers within the respective circuits within the Uthukela District establish a senior school manager PLC so that networking, development and support can occur. It is further recommended that the CPD of senior managers be based on the findings of research in the field of TD, as well as informed by best practice internationally. All PD activities within the district should be formulated after extensive research based on empirical and evaluative studies. Finally, SACE, as the guardian of teacher professionalism and the gate-keeper of access to the profession, needs to reflect and evaluate the decision that was made to close training colleges within the country. Senior school managers were found to be dealing with a challenge of inadequately trained teachers, especially regarding methodology and knowledge systems.