Professional Development

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Professional Development
Do it and Remember
“Wherever you want to go, you have no choice but to start from where you are”, (Karl Popper)

Abstract This paper will delve into the process of an already implemented and on-going proposal of teacher development at a private girls’ catholic school in Capital Federal. The introduction will state the nature of the project, the problems dealt with and the objectives, as well as the population involved. The Literature Review will provide the background necessary for its implementation, which includes some bibliographical references that served as backbone to the project. To conclude we will describe the results of the implementation of the proposal , the impact it has had on the subjects involved and its possible future changes, the latter based on a survey attached in the Appendix. Introduction Thirteen years ago I was offered to coordinate the English Department of Primary School at a catholic institution. The population involved in this task were the owners, the authorities of the school, the administrative staff, the teachers, who in the majority had been working at the school for some time, the pupils and, of course, their parents. On first analysing the situation, I set myself two types of objectives: short term objectives and a long term one. The long term objective the authorities commissioned me with, was to improve the level of English of the pupils. This overwhelming task could only be fulfilled if I set myself short term objectives, which would serve as a scaffold to realise such ambitious goal. It entailed thorough work on the teachers’ professional development, as it was my deep belief that the most important asset a school could rely on for its improvement was the teachers. After sitting in during lessons, holding meetings and getting to know the teachers better, I was able to have a clear insight of what the challenges were and, therefore take an appropriate course of action.

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Literature Review Where to start? After roaming around the school, getting acquainted with the premises, the first task to tackle was create a harmonious atmosphere with and among the teachers and to try to work with them in the same way I expected them to work in their lessons. There were different dimensions to be considered and none was to be overlooked. One of those aspects was the teachers’ expectations with respect to the coordination. The new coordination would certainly bring about changes and I had to find out how eager and flexible they were and if they were not, the challenge would be to provoke the need for change in them. I teach only as well as the atmosphere that I engender. I believe that education is change and that I will not be able to educate unless I am also able to change. (K. Head and P. Taylor (1997- p. 10)

For this change to be welcome, the affective dimension was crucial. There was a need to create unstructured time for them to be together and exchange experience and ideas: (…) many different experiences that shape your life and make you the person- and the teacher- that you are. (K. Head and P. Taylor, 1997- p.19) Successful teamwork would only take place if each participants’ individuality were respected. This would create the ground for the teachers to feel that they could be themselves and could each contribute, in their own style, to the process of change and development in the area. Personal awareness of their capacities and skills would mainly result from self reflection and by their own questioning of who they are and what they do rather than by any external training agenda. (K. Head and P. Taylor, 1997- p. 1) The coordination’s initial job was to draw information about the teachers’ needs and deeds, to act accordingly. Sitting in on classes provided the coordination with a clear picture of reality. The positive features were to be enhanced and the negative aspects were to be reversed. To release pressure from teachers, the focus of the...
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