An exploration of teacher learning in Grade 12 history professional development workshops.
Msomi, Derrick Mthandeni.
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This exploratory study focuses on teacher learning in Grade 12 History Professional Development Workshops. The study explores the nature and purpose of the professional development workshops that are organized by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in the District. It further looks at what teachers learn when they attend these workshops. The study also assesses the extent to which the principles of effective professional development are featured in these workshops. The research design of the study is located within the qualitative, interpretive paradigm. Data were collected through one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with History teachers and the Subject Advisor, as well as observation during the professional development workshops. The findings in this study indicate that teachers learnt new content and different skills in the professional development workshops. The professional development workshops organised by the DBE in this district seemed to uplift the capacity of knowledge and skills of teachers. They expanded teacher knowledge capacity, in order to improve learner performance. The study reflected, to a larger extent, the effective principles of professional development. For example, teachers were able to reflect on their own performance with the purpose of improving on their practice. After attending workshops, teachers improved their way of understanding effective teaching methods when dealing with source-based tasks and essay writing. Their assessment on tasks became better than before they attended the workshops. They acquired this through a number of activities that were given to them in the workshops. The activities were done collaboratley, that is, they were allowed opportunity to work in small groups thus able to critically look at their challenges as History teachers.