School-based learning and development: revisiting professional development for headteachers in India

Addae-Kyeremeh, Eric and Wise, Christine (2014). School-based learning and development: revisiting professional development for headteachers in India. In: Exploring Leadership Learning and Theories in Asia (ELLTA) 2014, 17-19 Nov 2014, Penang, Malaysia.


Professional development (PD) is a highly contested area but there is broad agreement about a range of activities that can contribute to PD in individuals and groups e.g. reflection (Day, 1993), mentoring (Hudson, 2013), reciprocal peer-coaching (Zwart et al., 2007), and engagement with the role (Eraut, 2004). However, none of these suggest effective ways of delivering PD at scale.

In the last few years, India has been working with the International community to educate, train and develop millions of teachers as part of Education For All (EFA). On the same note the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of India recognise that to improve and sustain the quality of learning and teaching, technology-based solutions could help deliver at scale (MHRD annual report 2012-2013). TESS-India (Teacher Education through School-based Support in India), project aims to provide the support required to deliver professional development at scale. The project brings together UK academics and teacher educators across India to produce Open Educational Resources (OER) to support teacher educators, headteachers, teachers and others through Teacher Development Units (TDU) and Leadership Development Units (LDU) the latter targeted at school leaders (elementary and secondary).

In this project we conceive PD as school-based collaborative activity which we suggest must form a coherent part of school reform with a flexible approach to ‘learn by doing’ through multi-platform delivery. We conceive PD as both a voluntary and involuntary exercise. By voluntary, teachers, headteachers and principals take responsibility for their development and self-select resources that will best suite their development needs. By involuntary we recognise that District Institutes for Education and Training (DIETs) deliver compulsory workshops that address state and national priorities. The project offers opportunities for DIETs to embed the resources into their mandatory training for teachers and headteachers.
This paper focuses on our findings from the first phase of the project and the development of OERs for school leaders termed, leadership development units (LDU). We investigated school leaders perceptions about PD by focusing on the following questions:

• What sets of activities constitute PD for headteachers and principals?
• What opportunities are there for school-based professional development?
• To what extent can OERs contribute to PD for headteachers and principals?

We adopted a mixed methods approach and through a survey from selected states and multiple case studies from two states we attempt to answer the research questions and put forward a framework for producing and using OER for school-based professional development. We conclude by recommending areas for further research in the development of PD through OER platforms.

Day, C. (1993). ‘Reflection: a necessary but not sufficient condition for professional development’. British Educational Research Journal, Vol.19, No. 1, pp.83-93.
Eraut, M. (2004), ‘Informal learning in the workplace’, Studies in Continuing Education, Vol.26, No 2, pp.248-73.
Hudson, P. (2013). ‘Mentoring as professional development: ‘growth for both’ mentor and mentee, Professional Development in Education, Vol.39, No.5 pp. 771-783
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Government of India Annual report 2012-13
Zwart, R. C., Wubbels, T., Bergen, T. C. M. and Bolhuis, S. (2007) ‘Experienced teacher learning within the context of reciprocal peer coaching’, Teachers and Teaching, Vol.26, No.2, pp165-187.

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