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Professional Development For Teachers Is Relevant

Teachers FILE PIC
I want to dedicate this opinion to narrating the need for Teacher Education Continuous Professional Development (TECPD). This submission is largely influenced by the fact that a lot of transformation is taking place in our education system.

More than anything, the education and training sector strategic plan advocates for a multiple pathways system, which apparently is relatively new to our environment. I must point out that multiple pathways is a curriculum that seek to embrace various skills and competencies in the learning process through the provision of innumerable learning avenues.  With the current conventional teaching and learning methodologies, multiple pathways will prove fruitless. In as much as we can implement the system in the current pedagogical set up, we are likely to hit a snag. Hence the need to adopt a pedagogical approach that will emphasise more on the outcomes. The need for demonstration of skills and competencies (with evidence) is what is to be subjected for assessment. Therefore, Outcome-Based Education (OBE) as a methodology suffices in these circumstances.

Our senior secondary school curriculum is said to aim for a three-part mission: to prepare students for further learning, career (work) readiness and citizenship.

While we pay lip service to the career and citizenship parts of the mission, the reality is that our secondary schools have become increasingly focused on a single mission: further learning. This justifies the recent calls for a more diversified curriculum in multiple pathways. That being said, it is necessary to have a commensurate change in the needful skills for the human resource who are to implement this awesome idea. This will require major efforts in reviewing and revising the teacher education current curriculum which is largely content based to one that emphasises student learning outcomes.

Throughout the process of teacher education which covers pre-service, induction, in-service and continuous professional development, we ought to be mindful of what entails a 21st century learner. The Botswana Teacher Continuous Professional Development (CPD) will certainly serve as a guiding principle on matters of teaching standards for the Botswana Teaching Council. Pursuant to having a common international understanding, I would assume that some standards will have to cover issues relating to facilitating methodologies for student learning. Teachers will have to develop strategies and techniques that meet the needs of individual students, groups and classes of students in a

highly responsive and inclusive manner. Other standards will most likely compel teachers to participate in the curriculum policy initiatives in an outcome based environment.

My guess is that teachers will be expected to lead the development of many educational programmes in reflecting the General Education Curriculum and Assessment Framework (GECAF). It is almost inevitable that teachers will have to make consistent judgements on students’ progress and achievement based on a range of evidence. They also will probably be expected to share knowledge and experience of using exemplary assessment strategies.

All these and many other standards will require that teachers develop themselves professionally.Among the many critical challenges as espoused in the ETSSP is the lack of a comprehensive teacher education and professional development. The situation is worsened by lack of clarity on career pathways for teachers.

The advent of a professional development framework will ensure that all teachers work on improving their individual professional profiles and provide evidence of all CPD activities which could have been undertaken by individual teachers in a specified period of time.

The framework will also have to shed some light on how to assume and progress under professional and administrative pathway. Such a model will permit exceptional teachers to progress while retaining them in the classroom and also elevating the rightful aspirants to leadership positions.

All progressions will have to be subjected to personal commitment to continuously developing oneself professionally and its impact on the daily duty execution. It is known as rewarding as per the outcome.

Let me conclude by challenging tertiary education providers and independent consultants to tailor make programmes for a 21st century teacher. In order for teachers to update and upgrade ourselves in meeting the needs of a 21st century learner, we should not shy away of our limitations.

It is important that we enrol in programmes that will help us execute our duties in a manner that is consistent with modern students. We should be encouraged to acquire skills especially those that we can develop on our own. To a greater extent, quality education is dependent on the quality of a teacher.

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