Teachers’ experiences and perspectives of continuous Professional Development in a Post Primary School.
Mc Cormack-Keegan, Ann
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Continuous professional development (CPD) of teachers has become paramount in most educational systems aimed at improving standards in schools. The purpose of this study is to explore teachers’ experiences and perspectives of CPD in a Post- Primary school in Ireland. The researcher examined if teachers experience of CPD is effective, relevant and does it improve teaching and learning. A mixed methodological approach incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods was utilised. The quantitative online questionnaire (n=32) was distributed and a focus group (n=4) was conducted in response to the study’s research questions. The data was then analysed using thematic analysis and key themes were identified. The research found that participants recognised both the opportunities and challenges associated with CPD. CPD that was beneficial for teachers included upskilling, advancing one’s career, improving student learning outcomes and implementing new curriculum changes. It was found that it revitalised teachers’ enthusiasm for teaching. The challenges associated with CPD that emerged were information overload, difficulty in accessing CPD, the repetitive nature and the quality of CPD provided to teachers. Time poverty and cost benefit of CPD were inhibiting factors that prevented the implementation of CPD. Recommendations from this small study include the need for more consultation with teachers on CPD with regard the school improvement plan and the school calendar. CPD content should be active, continuous, regular and reviewed. More time should be allocated for teachers to participate in and implement CPD, for teachers to work collaboratively and for reflection.
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