School-focussed staff development: opportunities and challenges: a case study

Meer, Naeem Suliaman
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This report sets oat to establish the need for a school-focussed staff development programme within South African schools given the changing educational imperatives in teacher education. It challenges the notion that a person with a university degree or teaching certificate is equipped for lifelong service as a teacher, by addressing the role that institutions can play in promoting professional development. The study focuses on the experiences of one school to evince teacher enhancement strategies. The methodology employs observation, interviews and a questionnaire pertaining to both the success of and the need for school-focussed staff development. The study found that the importance o f staff development increases as teachers develop new rationales and create new strategies to fit their particular context and needs. It further found that giving teachers the opportunity to make instructional innovations enhanced whole school development It stresses the need tor educational authorities to devolve more autonomy to schools, by supporting initiatives which integrate staff development and problem-solving approaches. Lastly, it makes recommendations on the induction o f professional dev elopment to facilitate structural and ideological evolution within schools. By locating this within the case study school, it found links between staff development and school achievement. Finally it stresses the need for schools to design programmes to suit fheir particular context. The study concludes by encouraging further research in the area of school-focussed staff development applicable to the South African context