Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours to sharpen the saw.”

Abraham Lincoln

The quality of education for the masses is deteriorating with each passing day. On one side the world is moving through a rapid technological enhancement, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Chat GPT has become the talk of the hour and people of scared of how far it can go. It is too early to predict its consequences or possible impact on society in general and on the education system in particular, On the other side countries like Pakistan are lagging behind the very basic requirements of educating their children. Schools lack basic facilities while the teaching staff are mostly unmotivated and unskilled. The rate of change in schools is much lower than the rate of change in the world. Therefore, we are not sure for which type of future the schools are preparing our children.

There is a huge gap between teachers and students in schools. The students are technologically smart, active learners, and creative. The teachers on the other hand are scared of technology, traditional, slow, and passive learners. This gap can be narrowed only if the teachers try to cope with the demand of the ever-changing world and it is only possible through continuous professional development courses that are rationalized, contextual, tech-enabled, and pragmatic. Unfortunately, the teacher either dread attending professional development courses because they think their skills will be put to the test or do not find themselves inclined to improve their teaching as it has rewards. There could be many reasons but two major factors are common in almost all the teachers. Firstly, lack of teachers’ intrinsic motivation. They are not much concerned about their students until they pass the examination, which itself is corrupt and allows students to get good grades without studying books and materials. They have not related their job satisfaction and pleasure with students’ learning. The system has loopholes in gauging teachers’ performance. It treats the teachers who are professionally sound, the weak, and the uninterested the same way. To crown it up the idea of quality education is not clearly understood and communicated to the parents, therefore the parents and the schools do not the right tools to segregate teachers according to their skills. Secondly, professional development is not linked to extrinsic motivation. If the teachers participate in their professional development courses, they do not get any rewards in monetary terms such as a bonus or the form of an award or certificate. So, a teacher thinks if there is no salary increment no award, or an appreciation what is the point of spending time and resources on professional development?

Besides the two factors mentioned in the previous paragraph, the quality of teacher education courses is dubious. Most teacher training courses offered in the country are not pragmatic, rationalized, and contextually relevant. Someone has developed a teacher training module somewhere in the world, and the trainers download the courses in the form of a PPT and present them to the teachers without even rephrasing the content. The trainers then explain what the content means without giving local examples therefore the material becomes irrelevant to the teachers, it does not address the genuine problems the teachers face in the classroom while teaching. Most of the courses are one-time courses with backstopping. As a result, even if the teachers need some help with the strategy, activity, or approach previously taught to the teachers she/he does not find it, therefore they take the easy route of continuing with the previous practice.

Some recommendations could improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools and somehow make the teaching relevant to the need of twenty-first-century education. The Sindh government has recently introduced Teachers Licensing, which can significantly improve teachers’ recruitment and only quality men and women will be able to enter into the profession. Once people get a teaching license, they will be required to fulfill all the requirements to hold on to the profession. The most significant requirement is Continuous Professional Development (CPD), fulfilling this requirement will keep the teachers relevant and updated.

Schools meanwhile can hunt the most appropriate courses available for their teachers and stop asking retired teachers to conduct motivational sessions for teachers. These retired teachers’ experiences can be useful but not relevant because time has changed, the schooling requirement has changed, and the students have changed. All those courses that are techno-enabled should be introduced to the teachers. The following framework World Economic Forum’s Taxonomy for the Future of Learning explains the requirement in complete detail and is self-explanatory

The Education System should link professional development courses with some intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Teachers’ assessment and backstopping should be the most essential part of the school’s quality control. 

To sum it up we need to make Continues Professional Development (CPD) relevant to the need of 21st-century education, and provide mandatory courses to all the teachers, and head teachers of schools, the CPD courses should be designed on skills that are identified in the framework, modify teachers’ competency standards and design courses to keep the teachers relevant to the students.

By Shagufta Shazadi

The writer is Editor zeroperiod and Specialist to Educational Assessment Monitoring & Evaluation. She can be reached at shagu.skm@gmail.com

One thought on “Why teachers dread their Professional Development”
  1. as you mentioned that the CPDs really would impact on their professional development. The second most important thing is continuous appraisal of a teacher. In public and private schools have a system or mechanism of KPI (key performance indicators) but unfortunately government schools are doing a baseless appraisal of teachers. So, beside CPDs there must be implemented appraisal system like private schools.

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