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KwaZulu-Natal science teachers' views on professional development activities.

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This study was concerned with science teachers' professional development activities in KwaZulu-Natal and finding out their views on the effectiveness of those professional development activities. It intended also to highlight both science teachers' perceived needs for improving their existing skills and ways of helping them to best address those needs. A postal questionnaire was sent to science teachers and interviews were conducted and tape-recorded with in-service providers. These data collection tools aimed at answering the questions: Firstly, what professional development activities are science teachers in KwaZulu-Natal participating in? Secondly, what kinds of professional development activities are considered to be the most effective? Thirdly, what competencies are recognised as in need of professional development? Lastly, what in the view of teachers and providers are considered to be the most effective ways of improving these competencies? The data from both the postal questionnaire and interviews were coded, captured, analysed, and interpreted. Among the more significant findings were: (a) workshops were the professional development activity most attended by science teachers in the study closely followed by formal courses; (b) teachers considered formal courses that led to a degree or a diploma that helped them to improve professionally, as the most effective professional development activity while providers felt the quality of the development activity was more important than the type of activity; (c) teachers in the study considered the understanding of OBE and the new curriculum as their most pressing needs while providers saw the need for an improvement of content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge; and (d) in the opinion of teachers, their daily practice would most likely be improved if equipped laboratories and libraries were made available. These findings should assist policy makers and in-service providers in terms of rethinking ways of providing professional development activities by taking into account science teachers' perceived needs and views about the best ways of meeting these needs.


Thesis (M.Ed.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2004.


Theses--Education., Science--Study and teaching--KwaZulu-Natal., Teachers--In-service training--KwaZulu-Natal., Professional development.