Hearing the teacher's voice: teachers’ views of their needs for professional development

De Geest, Els (2011). Hearing the teacher's voice: teachers’ views of their needs for professional development. In: 11th International Conference of The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project, 11-17 Sep 2011, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Abstract

Research literature (Little, 1993; Goodall et al, 2005; Joubert and Sutherland, 2008) suggests that for professional development (PD) to be effective the aims of the PD should fit the perceived needs of the teacher. This paper reports on a study, which investigated teachers’ views of their needs for PD and how these needs were being addressed when partaking in PD. Data consisted of responses to semi-structured interviews with 38 teachers who were involved in different types of PD initiatives. The data was analysed using a process of constant comparison (grounded theory). The analysis offers descriptive categories of teachers’ perceived needs for PD which seem to resonate with Perry’s (1999) descriptions of learner development. The findings corroborate a model of teacher change as growth or learning where teachers are themselves learners who work in a learning community and support models of empowerment for professional development, not models of deficiency (Clarke and Hollingsworth, 2002).

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