Directed routes or chosen pathways? : teachers' views of continuing professional development within a group of rural primary schools

Ridley, John Matthew (2010). Directed routes or chosen pathways? : teachers' views of continuing professional development within a group of rural primary schools. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000d3c6

Abstract

This research project examines teachers' Continuing Professional Development (C. P. D. ) within two clusters of rural primary schools in the north of England. The research considers teachers' attitudes to, and their understanding of, the meaning and purpose of C. P. D., and how it affects themselves and the pupils they teach. The research, which is set within its historical context with particular reference to the impact of the Education Reform Act (1988) and the raft of initiatives that have influenced the direction of teachers' C. P. D., reflects on teachers as professionals.

Through a combination of survey and case study, quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection were used and the initial questionnaires were followed up by semi-structured interviews in the two case study schools. Using Bolam's (1993) tripartite definition as an analytical framework C. P. D. is subdivided into the areas of training, education and support. The data analysis showed that across both clusters teachers' C. P. D. was driven by national government initiatives and, in some cases, the national initiatives became the schools' priorities, leaving little opportunity for an individual school based approach to C. P. D. Across the clusters there was an established relationship between the School Development Plan (S. D. P. ), performance management and C. P. D. The one year performance management cycle appeared to dictate the length of the C. P. D. cycle and promoted short term development, reducing opportunities for longer courses, such as advanced diplomas and higher degrees. The constraints of the cycle, along with the emphasis on the deficit model of C. P. D., is viewed as contributing to the general deprofessionalisation of teachers.

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