Do school-based teacher professional development programmes work? : teachers' perceptions on values of school-based professional development programmes.
Middlewood, D. et al. (1998) state that "Development cannot be forced because it is the teacher who develops (active) and not the teacher who is developed (passive)". Active teacher participation in professional development programmes will result in greater school improvement and teacher empowerment. The study is based on the parameter that if the teachers have no real input in the planning stage of the development programmes, such development programmes are likely to be ineffective. This study seeks to investigate whether these school-based professional development activities help teachers to teach effectively or make the school efficient. The study aims to investigate the perceptions of teachers and the role of the school managers regarding the value and usefulness of school-based teacher professional development programmes in school X. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used and data was collected through semi-structured interviews with members of the school management and questionnaires with educators. The investigation was limited to the data obtained from all the questionnaires and interviews that were responded to by the entire academic staff of school X. The findings are based on data collected only from the interviews and questionnaires. The findings of the study showed diverse views towards the current form of school-based professional development programmes. There were however all encompassing parameters that can be summed up basically as follows: Both educators and school management regard school-based professional development as important aspects of teaching to improve educator performance. Development programmes should become an integral part of schooling and an official policy should be established in this regard. Development programmes have to be a continuous process and should be related to the subject taught be relevant and practical. Subject knowledge and teaching methods should be improved for effective teaching and learning to take place. Professional development programmes should be evaluated to determine whether meaningful outcomes have been achieved or not, and continuous feedback should be given to educators.