in a country of such immense size and diversity. India has 1.3 million schools, 227 million students and 7.2 million teachers (not including tertiary institutions), providing significant logistical challenges for any programme of teacher and school improvement. Even a single state is the size of many other countries. Karnataka, for example, has roughly the same population as Italy, though only the same GDP as Croatia; while Rajasthan has the same population as Thailand and GDP equivalent to that of the Dominican Republic (see www.economist.com/content/indian-summary). Even though, for the Think Tank, CPD came to be seen as a teacher’s responsibility, they recognised that it was something that could not be done alone. Padwad and Dixit note that ‘support in the form of policy provisions, resources, incentives, freedom and opportunities was crucial for CPD’ and it was here that the state took responsibility. For CPD to be successful, then, the education system as a whole has to provide the enabling conditions and offer adequate scope and opportunities within a framework that allows teachers to personalise their professional development choices. The Think Tank provided just such an opportunity for ‘the evolution of the members themselves in the course of the work.’ Padwad and Dixit note that ‘There were remarkable changes in perceptions, perspectives, concerns and understanding’ for Think Tank members, thus illustrating the basic truth that professional development is lifelong, no matter how ‘senior’ one may be in an organisation. Chapter 12 in this volume focuses specifically on CPD for teacher educators – university teachers and educational officials responsible for the pre-service training and in-school support of teachers in South Korea. Kyungsuk Chang, Youngjoo Jeon and Heeseong Ahn conducted research with 64 university professors and 56 officials from the 17 local offices of education in the country to establish their engagement in CPD and how this related to government-mandated performance evaluation. These two groups are now under pressure as a result of continual government-initiated education reforms, which are designed to improve the ‘competitiveness’ of education at all levels. In the research, Chang and her colleagues, using questionnaires and follow-up interviews to collect data, found that CPD opportunities for teacher educators in both groups were constrained by the formal evaluation systems that had been developed in response to government policies. While both groups of teacher educators were very aware of the need for self-development to help them to cope with the needs of a rapidly changing society, very often the evaluation system was inimical to that development, pushing them (in the case of professors) to focus, for example, on quantitative measures of how many publications they had in a given year rather than how they had developed their teaching; and, in the case of education officials, to attend as many courses themselves as possible as these are a major criterion in evaluation, irrespective of whether they were relevant to their own needs. Professors themselves are aware of the dichotomy between research and practice, as one commented: ‘They should not be separated but, shamefully, we very often see research results are not fed back into practice or vice versa.’ Meanwhile, local education officials see their jobs more as office work than supporting teachers in schools: as one said: ‘I’m very often sceptical about whether I was selected as an education professional or as an administration assistant’. The lessons from this study are that, no matter how well meaning in theory, government policies which fail to take account of the contextual realities of individuals’ working
| 13 Overview
Published on Aug 29, 2014
Published on Aug 29, 2014
The publication, edited by David Hayes offers global perspectives on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) of English language teach...