Teacher professional development has increasingly gained priority in educational policies and practice. However, existing models have often been condemned for being top-down and ineffective. Recently, self-initiated professional development has been acknowledged and is more relevant with teachers taking responsibility in identifying their own developmental needs. This teacher-centred learning, originating from adult learning theory of andragogy, confirms teachers’ independence in initiating self-initiated professional development. The purpose of this study was to find out teachers’ perceptions and experiences in self-initiating their professional development, how teachers perceive the effectiveness of the self-initiated approach and how it is incorporated into their practice.
A qualitative case study research, nested in an interpretivist paradigm, was conducted with twelve purposively selected in-service high school English language teachers in government schools in the Tshwane South District of Gauteng to determine teachers’ perceptions of self-initiated professional development initiatives. Data collected through document analysis and interviews were thematically analysed.
It emerged that although HODs and teachers were positive about engaging in self-initiated professional development, some teachers regard it as a foreign concept while others engage in it inadvertently. At this stage, self-initiated professional development is not well integrated with the current professional development models. It is suggested that in order for professional development to positively influence the quality of education in South Africa, the Department of Basic Education needs to firstly consult with the teachers to determine their developmental needs and secondly, to monitor that the process. In addition, accountability needs to be enforced so that the implementations of the various types of professional development activities influence the provision of quality teaching and learning.
KEY WORDS: Self-initiated professional development, teacher professional development, professional development.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Management and Leadership))--University of Pretoria, 2021.